John Heart Jackie Portland, Oregon images © 2011 Ben Moon
John Heart Jackie is the kind of name you would expect to find carved into a tree, or perhaps inked on the arm of a romantic as a hasty-yet-permanent reminder of young love. When it's your band's name, you could be expected to embody that kind of impossible cutsey-ness that elicits both eye rolls and swoons, depending on your audience. Portland, Ore., duo, John Heart Jackie -- at the Tin Can on Tuesday -- deliver that and more.
Jennie Wayne and Peter Murray know how to craft a good folk song. Their LP released last year, We Are Gold Mounds, was written in Wayne's childhood home, a vineyard. They suggest that if you listen closely, you can hear the rain and the birds, and the creaky hallway doors. The nostalgia seems to color everything; it makes everything look like a light-leaked vintage Polaroid.
Their minimalist arrangements are rounded out by friends: Blind Pilot, Low Anthem and Guster all appear as guests on the record. The result is something bittersweet, with Wayne's vocals about love and longing barely whispered at times, sometimes accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. A track like "You've Been on My Mind" could arguably be modern folk-Americana take on Dylan's "Mama, You've Been on My Mind," a love letter to someone far away.
John Heart Jackie came through San Diego not too long ago and made a stop at Habitat House, where they performed a living-room set for a handful of neighborhood folks sitting cross-legged on the floor. Naturally, the art collective came away with some gorgeous videos of the performances, which can be seen here. San Diego certainly seems to be a place of inspiration for the band, as it also managed to write "Siren Song" in a San Diego park back in May. This time, they'll be playing the Tin Can and you can get your tickets here.