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Jenny Wood Rails Against Lies With ‘Truth Has Legs'

Courtesy photo

Truth Has Legs is the brand-new recording from Wichita singer-songwriter Jenny Wood. The collection of songs was inspired by a variety of personal struggles and observations about the world surrounding her over the last few years. Joining Wood on this recording are drummer Will Erickson (Spirit of the Stairs, Team Tremolo), Caleb Drummond (Haymakers) and Thayne Coleman (The Travel Guide).

Wood celebrates the release of her new record, Friday, Sept. 7, at the Crown Uptown.

Interview Highlights

Over the last year-plus or so one of the things that has happened is that you lost your father.

My dad, who from my first breath to his last breath, was someone I very much looked up to, who hated b.s.-ers. He hated phoniness. He practiced law for 30 years, he was brilliant, he was stoic, he was quiet, he was painfully fair. A lot of people thought he was mean because he was so honest. He could call anybody out. I worship that about him. I looked up to that so much. He taught me about music and taught me who was full of junk and who wasn't. He taught me about self-respect, integrity, character. So in his honor, I feel like these songs are a representation of that.

I'm guessing that your parents were able to see you perform live and come into your own.

A little bit, yeah.

A little bit.

My mom is real old. She is old. She doesn't leave the house. Doesn't like to leave the house. She goes to Dillons and that's about it.

Did your parents come out to shows?

That's another thing too: My crusade to prove to my mom that I can make it work. I can be a musician and it's not a scary thing. Changing that mindset that their generation, justifiably, was raised with. They came to a couple of shows. But my mom wants me to sing the jazz standards, Michael Bublé. She wants me to do that. Doesn't want me to sing at bars. It's almost like my dad knew I was going to do this so much that when I started to do it, he was like, "Cool." He did not show a whole lot of interest but only because I was still working on it. I know I'll never arrive.

He saw me writing and he was a prolific writer. He wrote constantly. He wasn't super excited to go see me play at shows. He was predominately deaf. He was all the way deaf in one ear and then pretty much deaf in the other ear and he had a hearing aid. Music was really hard for him in a live setting. It's almost like he knew me so completely that he was, like, "I trust you, go for it. I'm going to be over here reading."

My mom comes to see me at Larkspur. Once in a blue moon. It's gotta be Larkspur.

Let's talk about the album title. What in the world does this mean?

[Laughs.] Yes. You don't know what it means? [Laughs.]

Truth Has Legs was the overarching thesis of what was going on. I was either going to name it that or Where Was God? or Where Is God? My father hated anything that was phony or false identities or people with false egos that other people were believing. Oh my god, my father hated that. People can only fake it for so long and lies have a very short lifespan. It might take a long time but it will happen. That's what it was about, just the overall thesis of, "Truth will prevail."

I imagine that at some point, some show you're playing someplace is some kid's first show. Do you have an awareness of that?

Totally, because I was that. For sure. Especially young girls. They just stand there. Usually, their parent will bring them up and say, "Hey, my daughter wanted to meet you." And the way we talk … I just see what's going on in there. They can't even move because they're processing. They know, "I want to do that. That's what I want to do!" I can see them in the corners, just standing there like, "What is going on? You're not supposed to be that loose. You're supposed to be a woman, you're supposed to be held, really mysterious or really sexy." What if you're just really loud? I love that.

Because as a woman you're supposed to make it really as you can. Especially with a lot of female singers nowadays, you really have to be really reserved, pure. So, I try to go against that. There are these young women who are weirded out by me and then later they write me and say, "So, you wanna hang out?" That is the best!

Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.