For our sixth CD, Esopus invited participants to scour job listings—from any source, whether a jobs-related website, the classified section of their local paper, or simply a xeroxed flyer in a neighborhood store—and then choose one that they felt would make good material for a song. For many, the request resonated in more ways than one: The independent musicians we approach have for the most part consciously avoided the commercial route, and a number of them must work day jobs to support their musical careers. As Nashville-based singer-songwriter Amy Rigby mentioned in an email to which she attached the waitress listing she found, “The ultimate irony would be if I ended up getting a job there.” Her song, “A Taste of the Keys,” addresses this irony with her trademark wit and emotional punch.
The other selections are equally inspired. Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear’s evocative, even cinematic “Pine Cone Cafe” also takes its inspiration from a restaurant server listing, which gave it an opportunity also to pay tribute to one of their grandmothers who had waitressed for years. English band Magnetophone teamed up with Mountain Goats’ founder John Darnielle on the lush, eerie “Systems Thinking Business Modelling Consultant,” and another Briton, Owen Tromans, went the scientific route with “Astronomer,” which invests the specifics of the job description—tracking asteroids that might collide with earth—with a poetic resonance.