As “the only Jersey girl, the only Northeasterner” in The Stubborn Lovers, bassist-songwriter Jenny Taylor needed to provide a lot of context to her Oregon bandmates about the song “Drivin’ 22.”
It’s Taylor’s ode to the New Jersey portion of U.S. Route 22, an East-West stretch of highway that she traveled often during her formative years growing up in Plainfield.
“Lyrically, it’s very idiosyncratic and totally specific to that place,” Taylor explains. “Mandy [Allan], because she had to sing it, was like, ‘What is this song about?’ ”
Taylor says the concept for the song goes back more than 30 years to when she was a passenger in her family’s car.
“When I started writing songs, there were so many [Route 22] images that would stick out,” she recalls. “The refrain ‘Out on U.S. 22’ was literally in my head for decades, and I thought, ‘Someday, I have to write a song [about that highway].”
Featuring references to Jersey landmarks past and present, “Drivin’ 22” is the second single from Mother Road. Released in August on vinyl and CD, Road is the first Stubborn Lovers album, following a pair of EPs.
“I grew up in the era of classic rock and albums, when albums were an artistic statement and [often had] a theme,” says Taylor, adding that the Americana quintet’s goal with Mother Road was to have it be “thematically cohesive.”
Working for the first time with an outside producer, the Portland-based Stubborn Lovers crossed the Columbia River to record Mother Road with Patrick Tetreault at Ripcord Studios in Vancouver, Washington. The facility has history: While working as a DJ at KVAN in the 1950s, Willie Nelson recorded “No Place for Me,” his debut single, at Ripcord.
Taylor learned about Nelson’s Ripcord connection via Tetreault, but the character of the room — not necessarily the previous clientele — is what sold her on the studio.
“The vibe was just perfect,” she says.
— By Chris M. Junior
The Stubborn Lovers on tour (schedule subject to change):
• Sept. 14: Pengilly’s Saloon — Boise, Idaho
• Sept. 20: White Eagle Saloon — Portland, Oregon
• Sept. 21: Boon’s Treasury — Salem, Oregon
• Sept. 22: Sam Bond’s Garage — Eugene, Oregon
• Oct. 11: Oberon’s — Ashland, Oregon
• Oct. 12: The Crepe Place — Santa Cruz, California
• Oct. 13: The Ivy Room — Albany, California
Photo by Taylor Barnes