Split personality

By JON GARELICK  |  June 2, 2008

She made connections in New York through the producer Lee Townsend, whom she knew from San Francisco — hence Frisell and eventually Jones, Williams, etc. It was Jones who eventually encouraged her to make her own vocal record.

“There is an element of writing songs with words that is an assignment,” Scheinman tells me. “Sometimes it all comes at once. But I practice it. It was a conscious choice to figure out how to write songs with words. And a lot of that research was going through all the songs that I grew up with. And you know, there are plenty of stories to tell, especially if you’re just starting to write. My whole life has been unspoken, because everything’s been instrumental.”

At the MFA she’ll be playing the “singing” material and probably some new originals, with guitarists Adam Levy and Robbie Gjersoe and likely bassist Todd Sickafoose. And no drummer — which will put the focus on the singing and the songs.

“My next record will probably be all original. There’s something about telling a story that’s true that’s very satisfying and cathartic. Like ‘The Green,’ the one from my aunt, is a true story. Processing things in general, talking about them, is so helpful, and singing about them night after night is very helpful personally. But also part of what’s helpful about it is that you’re singing for an audience, and the story, which is such a personal story, resonates with the audience, you feel the comfort of the whole world. There’s something about singing your own song that’s an advantage if it’s a decent song. If it’s a good song, it’s really an advantage, because you know what it’s about so deeply, and you can really tell it.”

JENNY SCHEINMAN | Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston | June 7 at 7:30 pm | $18 | 617369.3306

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