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Get Up Jake
by Haven James

Preview: Jake at Tinker Street Cafe, Friday, 10/09/98

There's something raw and direct about their music, kind of like the band's name--Jake hits you straight on. And with a blazing badge of passion on her sleeve, singer/songwriter Jessie Lee Montague's songs tell a story of the human heart. She'll reveal some new episodes and offer them up to public review this Friday night, October 9 [1998], as she leads Jake to the stage for a special CD release party at the Tinker Street Cafe.

Bloodblue is the second major release by Jake. Signed by the independent Desert Dog Records for this EP, the group is stretching into new territory, experimenting with what they describe as "different sounds and styles of grooves." Some of these may already be familiar to locals, as Jake has logged a lot of hours playing here at home since recording their first CD at Bearsville in 1996. This Friday, they'll debut the product of those hours and give their friends first shot at the new CD.

The first album was titled Hooked, and the experience of recording here in the land of legends hooked Jessie on this humble hamlet. Originally from the Midwest, she started playing guitar during her stint in the theater program at Madison, Wisconsin. A few years in the closet building calluses and enchanting throat frogs and she moved to the streets of Europe to ply her newfound trade in song. Busking in London led her through the chills of cold, dark fog and poverty, and ultimately back to the States where she met a drummer. Together since then, Jagoda and Jessie went on to build a sound, adding Jagoda's friend, Johnny Raggs, to the mix as the bassist.

The group pressed on to the New York City scene, suffering life in the tenements of Brooklyn and more poverty, cold, and all the wonderfulness of a desperate existence. Garnering a lot of material for songs, but not much for anything else, they finally connected for an opener at Brownies for Chris Whitley and the world began to change. They got a shot at a demo, which led to a contract with Blackbird Recording with distribution through Electra. It was this deal that brought them to Woodstock and the Bearsville recording complex and, shortly thereafter, a move back to the country.

The record brought extra exposure, as the song "Heaven" was used in the Oliver Stone production of Gravesend and re-released on the Island Records soundtrack of the film. It drew air-time along with other tunes, and Hooked ended up setting a record for sales at Blackbird.

The music is real; the guitars sound like guitars, the vocals are melodic and show strength in more than one mode. The music is essentially rock 'n' roll; the variations run from warm and intimate to lost and searching to jubilant and wondering. Lines move to breakdowns that change gears and reinforce the crush of a backbone adjustment--a flash of light and release, and all is well again.

Bloodblue carries some new tunes: "Buy Myself" and "Evil" are rockers; "Christopher" shows the softer side. These and more will be part of Friday's get together at the Tinker at 10 p.m. The number at the club is 679-2487 if you need to call, or you can check out the cafe's web site and a hard-to-find review of Hooked through links at Werewolves on the Web at We're working on more album give-aways and you may find this one there, too.

Haven James has been a consistent contributor to the Music & Arts scene around the Hudson Valley and beyond for almost a decade through his column, Werewolves of Woodstock, published weekly in the Woodstock Times

A writer, musician, philanthropist, and Mac addict; he lives reclusively, high atop Overlook Mountain with his son and a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Though currently unmarried, rumors abound as to his intimate relationships with Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, and Eli Bach; though he insists these notions to be pure hearsay. His identity has remained a mystery to all but the closest of friends as he often travels in disguise and appears unannounced and undercover at concerts and venues in a dedicated effort to get the real story.

Go to the Werewolves of Woodstock page for more articles by Haven James.
Haven James can be contacted at

Posted on October 1, 1998

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