“True Blue” was written about Kendra Muecke’s time spent in Denver on her journey of self-discovery. And appropriately enough the song’s unusual structure, more in line with spontaneous performance poetry than any standard songwriting format. Like she spent more than a little time on the informal Siege Perilous of various of Denver’s open stages performing alongside musicians putting forth the usual sort of open mic music and the Denver weirdos who don’t want to bother with getting shows the typical routes and performers whose art doesn’t fit in with any subscene and taking away some of that sense of freedom of creative expression unburdened by how it’s to be marketed. Musically it’s as though Kendra & the Bunnies was plucked out of late 70s Venice Beach after spending some years in post-Beat Denver and San Francisco with the realization that poetry and music and theater come from a common root in human culture and that all of it could be combined into a unified aesthetic driven by individual vision. “True Blue” could have come out of folk rock Southern California in the early 70s, could have come out of the burgeoning folk scene in Boulder and Denver during the same timeframe vibing with Anne Waldman’s perfrmance art songs at Naropa, could come from a standout performance at a coffee shop where many fledgling musicians are still trying to be Jack Johnson or Tracy Chapman. “True Blue” draws you in because the it seems so off the cuff yet is clearly refined and the story it tells is one that is frank, vulnerable and open with dynamics that come off like natural pauses in a friend’s telling you what she’s been up to since you last saw each other and relating some poetic truths about the essence of a town you may call home or one you’ve never been but can learn about through the lens of her interpretation as forged in the process of risking judgment on her creative work on the small stage where authenticity is respected and embraced and inauthenticity, at least on that small scale format, is revealed regardless of the intention of the performer. Listen to “True Blue” on Soundcloud and follow Kendra & the Bunnies at the links below.
“Figure 8” by Kendra & The Bunnies comes in like impressionistic sketches of a melody that is given context when the vocals come in about a free spirited girl who doesn’t want to be penned in my conventional notions of how to be. The guitar work can be challenging at first but its own logic and improvisational style, given to going off the rails here and there, makes perfect sense in the entire arc of a song that feels like free verse poetry set to a folk song written by someone who had to figure out how to write one having read about that music and having access to a guitar without ever hearing it before making some of her own. It’s not outsider music but has a similar appeal because Kendra Muecke’s approach to songwriting seems to be one as immersed in poetry, biographical storytelling and constructing expectations of identity as a path to healing the trauma of the identities and values imposed on us by a culture that values efficiency and material value over humanity. Maybe when you hear the song you won’t find it so very different but in the realm of folk-inflected singer-songwriter music the subtle and distinct differences are striking. You may even dismiss it as a bunch of hippie nonsense but it is exactly those kinds of left-field ideas we need in a world filled with turmoil. The song comes from Kendra & The Bunnies new album of Vinyl and you can listen to the single on Spotify and follow Kendra and the band at the links below.