What’s the fuss about?

by Aaron Sarlo • Fall, 2015

I first saw Jamie Lou Thies perform in Russellville at the super cool (but sadly, now defunct) venue, The Cavern – a dingy, poorly lit hole with exposed wall studs and dumpster couches strewn around the room. I loved the venue, but its atmosphere didn’t jibe with the one song I had known by Jamie Lou. For months prior, I had been playing Jamie Lou’s single, “Love’s a’Blazin’ on my radio show, Shoog Radio on KABF 88.3. “Love’s a’Blazin'” is a terrific song, jazzy, dark, well-written. What is striking about hearing Jamie Lou for the first time is her stunning, effortlessly soulful singing voice. It was the voice in that song that made me look around The Cavern, wondering how it would fit into such an environment. When Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo took the stage, from their first note, I was transfixed. There, in that dilapidated room, rang true her clear, pristine voice, careening off the rumbling plaster walls and concrete floor like a beautiful bird bounding about a cold, stone cage. For Arkansans in the know, I will draw an apt comparison. Jamie Lou’s singing voice rivals Adam Faucett’s – not necessarily in volume (because Faucett sings loud!) but in tone, precision and stark beauty.

One song Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo played that night is, in my opinion, one of the best original songs to come out of Arkansas in a long while. I learned later that the song is named “Speaking In Lyrics, ” but that night, hearing “Speaking In Lyrics” for the first time, played in a room better suited for the bone crunchiest of punk shows, I was introduced to music that should be heard by as many people as possible, performed by a phenomenal, super-talented band – a band to make other bands jealous. Since that night at The Cavern, I have had the pleasure to watch Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo perform in a professional recording studio. I witnessed Jamie Lou give a remarkable, chill-bump-inducing vocal performance in just one take.

Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo is a great band, fronted by an immense talent. If this world turns out to be a just place, we will embrace their music with the infinite passion of a toddler taking her first steps into a life that she just knows couldn’t be anything less than perfect.