If you’re a gay boy or a rocker in Chicago in the past decade, you’ll most likely be familiar with the work of writer, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist John Kamys via his theater work or more likely as the leader of Super 8/Super 8 Cum Shot and Jinx Titanic. Super 8 and Jinx saw John come out of his musical shell with some very in-your-face gay punk CDs (ala NY Dolls, not Pansy Division) and always full house live gigs that featured anything from Watermelon fisting to dancing fetish porn actors.
Now, the usually in character Jinx steps out of his persona and into more stripped down territory with I Want Some Sun, his new solo album under his real name. Having only heard hints of him working on a new album, I was sort of expecting a continuation of the Jinx/Super 8 sound. What I got was a very raw John taking a complete 180 and going roots rock.
At first it feels like another creature entirely, but John has always been a beacon of American music, most recently having a hit with a cover of Mahalia Jackson’s Trouble of the World. So going from southern gospel to southern roots makes Trouble feel like a natural bridge to his new sound especially if you start out with the gospel tinged title track which reminded me of something The Band would have done if all alive and kicking and not hating each other today.
At first listen, most are going to want to compare this CD to works by Tom Waits, Levon Helm, and and some of Austin’s finest like Steve Earle and Townes Van Zant, but after a while you realize, like with his rock material, John is always original and incomparable, which, for music fans like us, always looking for originality, is a true gift that John keeps on giving.