“I took a walk on the treetops, but I woke up in my bed.
I’m trying to deal with the doors locked, all inside my head.”
It’s a frustrating time to be a woman. If you’re a woman who isn’t frustrated, lucky you. It can be especially frustrating being a woman in a male-dominated music industry, and I celebrate those who can navigate it with poise and dignity. One such woman is Jocelyn Paige – singer for Salem band, Brides.
I met Jocelyn during an interview with Daniel Loren for his band Orchards, about eight months ago. At that point, Brides did not exist. I knew that she’d previously had her own projects, but was unfamiliar with her music. Fast-forward a couple of months and I started seeing Brides playing just about every weekend. I asked Daniel about the new project and he lit up, “I really believe in this project. Probably more than anything right now.” So, he recruited members of Orchards to bring her songs to life: Daniel on guitar, Aaron Branam on bass, multi-instrumentalist Adam Debates on drums, and of course, Jocelyn on guitar and vocals.
I finally got around to seeing them at The Space for a benefit show for suicide prevention. Before they played, I was chatting with Mick Hickman of Northwest Notes who was slack-jawed that I had never seen Jocelyn perform. I respect Mick’s taste, so I was stoked for the show. I believe Jocelyn was in top form that night. Suicide is something that she is unfortunately too close to after losing her father a couple years ago. When she told the crowd as much, there was an audible gasp. Myself included. I needed to listen.
Now, I was slack-jawed.
Since that show, I’ve listened to the singles they’ve released so far, “This is Not a Pixies Song” and “Local.Dads.” I’ve listened to her kicking it in the green room at The Space, and watched her solo at an open mic. She writes delightful pop hooks, but they’re meaningful and have real lyrical depth. She has the ability to belt full-throated and then with the very next breath, she’s small and vulnerable, but never sappy or twee. It’s not just her lyrics that tell the story, but her vocal and stylistic range.
When I met with the band last week, I got the feeling that she did once explore the cutesy side of her voice and songwriting, but became bored as she matured into the capable songwriter she is now. “I’ve quit taking myself so seriously,” ironically followed with, “It’s really nice to be taken seriously as a female musician.” Hat tip to the male supporting cast in her band.
Brides will be celebrating their EP release “For Charles,” Sunday, October 29th at The Space. Also on the bill is Salem’s art rock Mons La Hire, and Lavender, a dark electronic group touring through Salem. It is also Jocelyn’s 21st birthday. You can also hear Brides on the Fleetwood Mac compilation album “Sunny Side of Heaven,” covering “Landslide.”
The song I quoted at the beginning of the article “Child,” has been in my head ever since I heard her perform it. It’s a heartbreaking account of a child precariously navigating that edge between the dreams of childhood and the stark demands of adulthood…”I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying.” It’s the song that made me fall in love with her voice and her songwriting. As she put it, “This is the best expression of myself I can offer. If you don’t know me and listen to Brides…you know me.” Their EP “For Charles” will be available on BandCamp, at Ranch Records, and at The Space.