Staying at her Grandmother’s house up in Catskill, New York, singer songwriter Cassandra Jenkins was feeling slightly removed from the bristling Manhattan streets that she grew up around. On her fantastic sophomore album, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, Jenkins took inspiration from daily conversations and small gestures. But with no safe access to the world she once knew, Jenkins is left wondering how we can move forward.
Released back in February on Ba Da Bing Records, Jenkins worked closely with producer Josh Kaufman (The National, Craig Finn, Hiss Golden Messenger) to craft a fluid song cycle full of spontaneous musical experimentation and narratives inspired by her travels. It’s a gorgeous album rich with ethereal textures and expressive storytelling.
Jenkins took its name from a retrospective of the work of multimedia artist Mrinalini Mukherjee that was showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York back in 2019. While attending this exhibit, Jenkins struck up a conversation with a security guard who explained the importance of the exhibit, which she recorded and included on the album’s entrancing centerpiece “Hard Drive.”
In this conversation with Ears to Feed, Jenkins discusses the liberating environment around creating the album with Kaufman, her musical upbringing, the inspiration she gets from random interactions with people and how we are lost without them, her memories of David Berman and rehearsing as a part of his Purple Mountains band before his tragic passing, and so much more.
Previous Episodes of In Conversation: