The Houston-based, heavily-adored, and altogether elusive Jandek will be performing at the Menil on December 17. Jandek's last show in here town, at Rudyard's on April 5, 2009, was by all accounts and visual documents, a straight-up funk throw down, complete with bass, drum, and guitar freakouts that astounded the collected local musical braintrust assembled. Judging by the hoots and hollers on the YouTube clips, it was a stunner. Could Houston get another one of these sets from Jandek? That's really up to the man himself. Maybe he's into metal now...
If you are a student of Houston music, obscure folk and songwriting, or just a great musical sleuth, then Jandek is in your personal top ten. He has the power to entrance devotees and novices with a mere pluck of a string. We've heard stories of the man showing up at local wine bars and chatting with young musicians about their craft, handing down gifts from his mental mountain and no doubt taking notes from the youth.
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See? The man knows how funk the hell out of crowd. If you saw him walking down the street you would probably think him more apt to perform a hostile take-over of a Fortune 500 company or perform a government hit.
Oh hell, Chris Gray said this in 2009, and he's a much better storyteller:
"Calling Jandek a "cult hero" would be about as much of an understatement as calling him "prolific." Since 1978, the eccentric Houston singer-songwriter savant has released more than 50 albums on his own Corwood Industries label, which is accessible only via P.O. box. Jandek's music is rich with imagery steeped in religion, geography and numerology, and played in a style (in tunings of his own devising) that straddles the line between avant-garde art songs and ancient East Texas country-blues. Featured alongside Syd Barrett, Captain Beefheart, Wesley Willis and Daniel Johnston in Irwin Chusid's 2000 book Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music, Jandek has had a profound influence on minimalist musicians such as Smog's Bill Callahan, the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle and Minnesota trio Low. Paul Friedrichs's 2004 documentary Jandek on Corwood must have shaken something loose in the reclusive artist -- up until then, he had never performed live, but now does a handful of shows every year in the U.S., Canada and Europe."