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Lessons & Lovers

 Creative Reviews

Wonky Tonk sat down with CincyMusic for an intimate performance of her songs "Stock Market" and "Suitors" at BLDG. Wonky Tonk is a treasure in the Cincinnati Music Scene. Raw, honest, hard-working, and a heart of pure gold. Sit down, turn it up, and prepare to get wonked.
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Engaging Greater Cincinnati singer/songwriter Wonky Tonk is gearing up for the release of her anticipated new full-length album, Lessons & Lovers, which is due later this year and is the follow-up to her 2015 debut LP, Stuff We Leave Behind.

In advance of the release of the album — credited to Wonky Tonk & The High Life, which features bassist Eric Dietrich and drummer Alessandro Corona — comes the music video for “Lessons,” the penultimate track on Lessons & Lovers.

Like a lot of Wonky Tonk’s material, “Lessons” borrows some tools and tricks from Folk and Country music playbooks and toolkits. But the music is never limited by those facets, boasting a clever experimental slant that gives it its distinctive charm and often an Indie Rock edge.

Think Jenny Lewis by way of Modest Mouse.

Wonky Tonk's music exists entirely in its own universe, though, sounding exactly like exactly no one else.

“Lessons” begins with just guitar and vocals, but as it creeps along, sounds swirl in the background subtly, creating a haunting ambiance. The song builds, sonically and emotionally — Tonk’s voice grows increasingly confident, moving from reflection and melancholy to full-on strength and empowerment, escalating to a refrain of “I’ve got all the love that I need.” In the video description, “Lessons” is described as “a song about self-love, the healing power of love and the light choosing Love brings to even the most mundane.”

 

Along with her music, Wonky Tonk has a history of great, artistic music videos. “Lessons” see her reteamed with director Dave Morrison, who helmed her clip for “Four Letter Word,” the 2017 Cincinnati Entertainment Award winner for Best Music Video.

2019 Nominee for best Folk/Americana

Winner of 2017 & 2018

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

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         Best Music Video                          Best Singer/Songwriter

        'Four Letter Word'

Poole draws musically from female country powerhouses like Lynn, too, as well as from elements of folk and classic singer-songwriters like Lucinda Williams; Wonk’s personal songwriting and acoustic-to-the-guts sound transcend genre — but not relatability. The Wonk with the Highlife, or the Wonk as a duo, will be touring until at least later July, playing in venues across the Midwest and beyond.

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“Stuff We Leave Behind” is a great album, where poetry and dusty truth-telling meet heartland country, ragged rock ‘n’ roll and long-ago alt-rock against Poole’s fire ‘n’ candy vocals. Poole doesn’t pull punches (see “Suitors”) and once said life is too short to pretend. I mention John Lydon’s “only the fakes survive” quote. “They’re Twinkies, right? The Twinkies never expire,” Poole said. “I don’t have patience for baloney.”

Not many people would trust a tarot card reading they bought with a Groupon, but for a musician like Wonky Tonk, it just seems to resonate with that special part of who she is and where she finds herself on her journey.

A tireless performer and songwriter, Wonky Tonk is preparing to release her second full-length album, Lessons Not Lovers, this summer.

It took some relentless pursuit, but after a few years of trying, I was finally able to get her to sit still long enough to spend some time with me in the studio. As we sat down together, I wasn't sure where our conversation would go, and though I resisted asking about "being a girl in a band," it just naturally went in that direction. I found myself fascinated by her stories, her view on music, life, and everything.

This in-studio performance includes live versions of the songs "Stock Market" and "Never Trust a Doctor" from the upcoming album Lessons Not Lovers.

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