Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster

Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (henceforth known as JPKS) is one of the most criminally underrated songwriters and musicians of the last ten years. My only explanation for that is people are morons. JPKS’s music whether it be solo, with Water Liars or Marie/Lepanto has always had a propensity of buckling my knees. It just made me hurt in all the right places.

However on Take Heart, Take Care things seems a little brighter. After his show this past Monday night I made that comment to him and he told me (I’m paraphrasing here) that he had to sort of relearn his craft to come out songs from a different place. While the songs might be coming from a sunnier perspective place, they certainly don’t lack in the ability to make you feel.

The second track, Friend of Mine, is such a hopeful tune. The guitar lick sets the tone and the lyrics hammer home the spirit of being “reborn” and living for the good. The title track showcases JPKS’s vocals at their best. The lyrics tickle your spine, as JPKS comes across as someone trying to pass words of wisdom down to a younger charge.

Take Heart, Take Care stands among his best work. And I can’t stress this enough, go see his band live while they’re on tour.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Justin / Water Liars are here


Will Johnson & Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster have joined forces to release an album under the name of Marie/Lepanto. The idea was hatched during a living room tour they did together. These are two of my favorite voices in music and I can’t emphasize how happy I am about this. The tune below kicks ass. Get excited for this one.

In the sunken lands of Arkansas along I-55, there’s a road sign that directs you to a pair of tiny, hardscrabble towns in the Delta. It reads: Marie/Lepanto and resides roughly between where each artist grew up: Justin in Arkansas and Will in Missouri. Alternating between lofi folk and distorted indie rock, ‘Tenkiller’ finds their two voices shadowing one another, with Johnson’s battered vocals and Kinkel-Schuster’s wavering tenor complementing one another. Many of the songs then funnel into expansive instrumental breaks. “Inverness” segues into the fingerpicking, creaky “Rest Be Mine.” The widescreen waltz “High Desert” coexists with the ghostly title track, named for a lake in Oklahoma and inspired by Justin’s reading the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Marie/Lepanto is here



Photo by Matt White

For those not in the know, Justin is the lead voice and 1/3 of HearYa favorite, Water Liars. With Water Liars, their tunes tend to vacillate between quiet moments and crashing sound all the while showcasing life’s difficulties. On his solo debut, Justin dials back the sound for in giving you something that feels like a confessional.

Kinkel-Schuster has never been shy of his admiration for the late Jason Molina. And that shines through as this has the feeling of some of Molina’s more mellow work. Painting Houses is a gorgeous melancholy track that examines the struggles of everyday. The finish beginning at 2:40 ooozes Molina greatness and I don’t throw those words around easily.

Kinkel-Schuster’s vocals continue to shine. It is nice to see in a slight different fabric on his solo album. Headed South and Milky South are among his best work. The songs just seem to dig up some hurt.

While I am chomping at the bit for a new Water Liars album, this was a nice way to pass the time in between.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Justin / Water Liars are here

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