Wonky Tonk is unlike any other country artist, current or past, breaking the mold with her witty and heartfelt lyrics and fiercely independent style. Her debut album “Stuff We Leave Behind” is amazingly filled with a genre-defying mix of delicious songs, some sad, some joyful and all unique. It perfectly reflects her punk cowgirl aesthetic.
Wonky Tonk is the moniker of Jasmine Poole, a Kentucky-bred girl who seems incapable of operating under any sort of calculated deliberation, preferring to live in a moment that is perpetually new and unexpected.
“My soul and my influences are punk but for some reason when I picked up a guitar I played folk tunes” Jasmine reflects. Her love of mosh pits was offset when she began to idolize cowgirl imagery and her two loves were soon fused with her high school band The Wonky Donkeys. This early incarnation soon evolved into Wonky Tonk which functioned as both a solo act and a collective throughout the 2010’s. Poole and her rotating line-up traveled to Santa Monica, Brooklyn, Miami, St. Louis and even Denmark; playing basements, bars, theaters, honky tonks and opening for Langhorne Slim, Avett Brothers and Those Darlins along the way.
Somewhere in between her travels, Jasmine found time to record “Stuff We Leave Behind,” which took 6 years to complete and includes songs that were written from age 16 to 25. Most of the material was tracked at the Tone Shoppe in Columbus, OH where Jasmine spent her days wrestling with the click track and tripping out on the sound of her voice during playback. Having assistance translating her wonky ways to tape taught her the quality of friendship and patience but in the end the most important lessons came down to trusting her instincts. “I walked away from this project having the confidence in myself and my ear,” she asserts. “What I was helping to create was beautiful and worthwhile.”
The track “Cleveland” is a pop-punk whirlwind, complete with accents of 1960’s girl groups in the “sha-na-nas” she throws in. You can stream it below as well as the new single “Bulleit.” I love Jasmine’s voice especially showcased in the dark ballad.
“Cowgirls get up in the morning, decide what to do and do it,” Poole was told as a child. And that is exactly how she intends to live her life. With a closet full of boots, a heart full of wander and a soul full of songs, Wonky Tonk wants nothing more than to put her own indelible stamp on her bourbon-swigging, Loretta Lynn-loving home state.