New Release – Maka Wish (album) by Jeff Roberts, part I

New Release – Maka Wish (album) by Jeff Roberts, part I

Jeff Roberts is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter from Charlottesville, Virginia (USA). He started playing in bar bands in a long ago age before Star Wars sequels came out and has performed with Rock, Metal, Blues, R&B, Pop, Swing, Folk, and Black Gospel groups in the US, Canada and Germany. There’s a little bit of all of that coming out in his music. He writes songs about topics that include mountain top spirit visions on mushrooms, witnessing violent death, enduring the toxic decline of the Trump years, parolees looking for love, and alien visitations.

His album ‘Maka Wish’ will be out April 19th. It’s a musical distillation of a life spent listening to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, David Bowie and a whole lot of others.

“At a certain distance it all falls within a broad Rock category, but within that there are elements of Hard Rock, Pop, New Orleans Funk, Blues, Americana, and Jamaican Dub. I would be dreadfully bored staying within any one musical lane.”

“Since I’m rather eclectic, while remaining true to some core influences, I’d say it’s different from my previous releases in sound but similar in spirit.”

What does the album’s title reveal?

“It’s overdetermined – there are a number of possible meanings. The word ‘maka’ is phonetically the same as “make a,” and so there’s a superficial level where the phrase “make a wish” is the theme, but a maka is also a female spirit in Norse languages, a woman in Hawaiian and an anime character that Damon Albarn created – I didn’t know about the last one when I chose the title. In a Jungian reading you could say that it’s the expression of a desire for reunion with the anima forces of the psyche. Or not, ha ha.”

Is there a consistent lyrical style through the album?

“Definitely not. Some lyrics are from deeply felt emotions and lived experiences – how many songs are there out there about watching a hapless pedestrian being smashed by a runaway truck? Others are more outward looking and political.”

What are your favourite memories of writing or recording the album?

“The experience of being deep in a creative zone where things felt like they were being given to me from forces outside myself. Yeah, that sounds a bit airy but it’s a real thing.”

What can you tell me about the songs on the album?

“The most accessible song is probably ‘Ain’t it Funny’ which has a very New Orleans flavor and a very simple chorus that alludes to the way time gets away from all of us, always.”

“My favourite would be ‘An Open Book’. It’s based on a traumatic experience and juxtaposes the simple joy of everyday life with serendipitous, random catastrophe. It’s kind of a dark version of ‘Penny Lane’, where everything is just wonderful until it isn’t. A podcaster friend remarked to me how much it reminded him of the The Beach Boys, which I can hear, even though I can’t stand them for the most part. I probably filtered out something from the way McCartney borrowed from them.”

Ghost Love’ is currently being promoted as a single. Is there a song on the album you’re nervous about releasing out to the world?

“Ha ha, yes! ‘How Many More Days’ is a totally campy blues sendup done in a faux Howling Wolf voice. But it rocks like hell, and it’s about the time spent wondering how much longer we had to endure the Trump presidency, and now just his continued presence in the American political nightmare.”

The cover art is by Carlost Cardona, aka Jukar.

“He’s a gifted young artist I met in Guatemala who now lives in Barcelona.”