Love, Hate & the Blues
By Eloise Kirn
Mrs. Glass suggested we meet on Easter Sunday. Fortunately, we met two days later, past dinner hour, in a sinful dive bar called the Hard Luck Lounge. Hard Luck is what we got because we caught the musician, legally named Jordan Webster, on a “bad night.” He responded to our first question—why do you create—with a nod toward his whiskey. “I guess it’s more just being a drunk. I play the blues, that’s about it.” His responses to our questions continued to get darker: his only advice to artists in Austin is “go to Portland” and he says he would’ve moved back to New Orleans years ago, if only he could drive.
Needless to say, Mrs. Glass isn’t very happy about the world. He hates pretty much everyone and everything. (Though when pressed, “do you use the word hate affably?” he responds, “all the time.”). His music clearly comes from a dark and stormy place: “The best record I did, I was so smacked out and hated everybody and thought everybody hated me. Then I got sober. And I wrote this record in three days and it was fantastic. Then I immediately went to boozing and I started to have fun again... so that was good. But everything crumbled. And I wrote some more good songs.” He is certainly boozed up tonight, and repeatedly apologizes for the cynicism that falls from his lips as easily as the whisky goes down.
As we sat in Hard Luck’s empty yard, a monotonous rain fell. Mrs. Glass looked out glossy- eyed, chain-smoked, ran out of cigs, and pulled a fresh pack from his suit jacket. We asked about moving to Austin because of Hurricane Katrina, the great losses he’s experienced in life, and the self-fulfilling prophecy of the tortured artist; however, Mrs. Glass connected with one subject only.
Love and loneliness. Love and rejection. Love and hate.
“I play romance music, but it’s not phony soft shit. Love sucks, it’s horrible… Well, love itself isn’t horrible but everything else that goes with it is. Rejection. All of that.” He goes somewhere else for a moment. “Love itself is nice. Love doesn’t hurt.”
His change in demeanor is strange for someone so guarded and generally pissed off. When he talks on this subject he sort of slumps a little, looks away, and becomes the most vulnerable person in the room. “Do you hear this right now?” He points up to the bar’s speakers. “All he’s talking about is falling in love with somebody and them not being in love with him. That is always the magic in the sauce: love that is not reciprocated. It’s the best thing when it comes to music.”
A melancholic song comes on next. It’s his. “People really like this song, but they don't realize it's about a serial killer and how a serial killer would look at their obsessions.” Despite the mass misinterpretation, he and his audience meet at the junction of obsession. Like through most of his music, Mrs. Glass communicates the humanity in darkness. And as we sat there with him, listening to the music, the void between us began to shrink as well.
“Do you feel lonely?”
“Oh all the time. Sometimes I feel like the loneliest--" He laughs a harsh, throaty laugh, then looks like might cry. "... Do you guys feel lonely?”
After an hour of this (listen to the audio, if nothing other than to hear his voice), it’s time to play. His scheduled performance takes place in a corner of the bar, in a small wooden chair, under a juke box and $300 painting of Willie Nelson in a field of flowers. The four people at the bar—the owner, a regular, a stranger and Mrs. Glass’ promoter—began to call out song requests. One song is about his father dying of lung cancer. Some are about killing. All are hollow. He shakes his head and says, "I don't even wanna..." Then simply takes a swig, and belts out one of the most heart-wrenching songs we've ever heard.
Mrs. Glass plays at the Blackheart on Rainey Street every Thursday. He will also take the stage at the White Horse on April 8 to celebrate his band's five-year anniversary. In the next year, he plans to release two full length albums. The first, entitled “Sorry” is due in May, will be an all acoustic traditional blues record. The second album, entitled “Sexy on Film” is due in September, will be a stylistic shift for the band, veering into a pop direction.