Inspired by teaching songwriting in two southern California area women’s prisons, “some songs were written there, while I was teaching and participating in the assignments that I gave,” says Mandell, “others are portraits or amalgamations of two or more inmates or were inspired by something I heard them say.”
“My life as a musician and my life as a returning student and working mother were colliding. I felt conflicted and sad about it,” say Mandell. “I thought about how much I wanted to keep that old part of me, the musician, alive and somehow make it work with the new part of me, a teacher and day-jobber. It was a tough transition. Simultaneously, I was listening to stories from these women who had left their lives behind as nurses, lawyers, teachers, housewives, and yes, in some cases, drug dealers.”
For nearly two years, through Jail Guitar Doors, the organization founded by MC5’s Wayne Kramer and Billy Bragg, and the William James Association, Mandell “loved working with the inmates, hearing their stories and seeing them light up when they heard their words come to life in a song.”
In support of the album, Mandell plans a summer tour with two shows already confirmed for Los Angeles June 9 at Dynasty Typewriter, and in New York June 27 at Rockwood Music Hall. More dates to be announced soon.
Produced by Sheldon Gomberg at his Silver Lake studio, Wake Up Again features 11 original compositions with Mandell on vocals and acoustic guitar, Milo Jones (guitar), Ryan Feves (bass), and Kevin Fitzgerald (drums).
Since her 1999 debut album Wishbone, she has released Thrill (2000), Snakebite (2001), Country for True Lovers (2003), Afternoon (2004), Miracle of Five (2007), Artificial Fire (2009), I Can See The Future (2012), Let’s Fly A Kite (2014), Dark Lights Up (2015). She is also a member of the indie folk supergroup The Living Sisters with Inara George and Becky Stark.
Wake Up Again Tracklisting:
- Be Together
- Just Herself
- Box in a Box
- Oh Mother
- What’s Your Handle (Radio Waves)
- Empty Locket
- Ghost of a Girl
- Wake Up Again
Wake Up Again is now available pre-order.