Jake Hemming, a Musical Storyteller

Truly, one of the best things about music, any kind of music, is the story it tells. Whether it speaks to us directly as angst-filled teens falling in love or takes us on a metaphorical journey through space with Major Tom, we feel it. Lyrics rarely mean the same thing to everyone but those stories help us through the bad times, get us dancing and singing along, and remind us of the moment we fell in love. Most of the time we're blissfully unaware of the real stories behind the music we love, but sometimes artists let us normals in on the secret.

There is no shortage of storytelling bards in this city. Since the Head and the Heart and Americana boom of the last few years took over Seattle a huge number of storytellers have come and gone; some successful, and some not so much. One man that immediately comes to mind who has made a mark on the singer/songwriter community is Jake Hemming of Big Sur. A kind-hearted bear of a man that will swallow you in a hug the moment he sees you, whether you're new acquaintances or old friends. This Saturday Big Sur is playing an intimate show, as seems to be the norm in this city nowadays, at the Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Greenwood as part of a series dubbed The Naked Sessions. The theme of the night is chatting about stories behind the music; a shared experience between the musicians and the audience. In preparation for the show, I asked Jake if he would mind sharing one of those tales with us.

The song he chose is called "Their Honeymoon", and even without hearing his story, the lyrics paint a melancholy picture. We suggest you listen to it first, then discover its origins below the video.

In Jake's Words:

"Initially, I wrote this song about my mom and dad. It was their story, and I told it so I could understand and love them as human beings, and not exclusively as parents. I held my parents up as Super Heros. Parents aren’t allowed to be depressed, or drink too much, or get unreasonably angry, or unreasonably unforgiving, or fall out of love... humans are. Removing faults from our history was as destructive as swimming in them, and kept the wonderful things from feeling entirely true.

Now, years later, I realize that I left this song like a time capsule for future me. It’s a warning. It tells me to be honest about my nature and predispositions. It tells me to never keep a distance from beauty, especially when the trade is 'stability.' It tells me to be brave like my wife, and loyal like my sister. It says I should love as recklessly and entirely as my mother. And, it tells me that I should take everything with my chin up and shoulders back, facing directly into the wind, like my father. It tells me to be a human parent. It’s the first song where I felt completely terrified writing and performing it. It’s also the first song where I could hear my own voice. Not warm and booming like my fathers, but capable of telling a few stories. I’m still terrified every time I play it.

'Their Honeymoon' will likely be featured on our upcoming full length record. It exists now on a very old EP (Women), and several video/live recordings."

Naked Session with Big Sur
Saturday May 17th at 8pm
Tickets: $10
Naked Brewery & Taphouse
8564 Greenwood Ave N

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