Hometowns | Sarah Jaffe [Red Oak/Denton, TX]

Welcome to Hometowns, a new feature we’re debuting today at Speakers in Code where we ask artists about where they grew up. The Hometowns mission is twofold: 1) we wanna let our favorite musicians play homage to the places they hold near and dear to their hearts and 2) we strongly believe that roots have a significant influence on the art that these folks make. We want to know more. In Sarah Jaffe’s case, there are two special places where she’s spent time in her life: Red Oak and Denton, Texas. 

Jaffe hit it big last year with the release of Suburban Nature, which we named one of our favorite albums of 2010. The album is perhaps best known for the song “Clementine,” a five-minute gem that Jaffe originally wrote as a piece of filler. It’s funny how a throwaway can turn into something that can eventually define an artist’s work. We’re certainly glad she kept it around.

Jaffe will be in Saint Louis at Off Broadway next Tuesday, July 5th, supporting Centro-matic, a band that just released a new album called Candidate Waltz. Tickets to the show are only $8 and can be purchased here.

Jaffe, whose only other Saint Louis appearance to date was last year at The Billiken Club, will performing with a full band at Off Broadway, and we’re pretty excited to hear her sound fleshed out a bit. Perhaps she’ll even take a stab at something off Even Born Again, her first EP that was re-released earlier this year. A blog can hope, right?

Last week, we got Jaffe on the phone to discuss the place she grew up (Red Oak), and the town where she now lives (Denton).

If you could take us out for a meal in your hometown, where we would we go?

We would eat at Thai Ocha. It would be the best Thai food — I don’t know if you’re a fan of curry at all. No matter where I go — New York, San Francisco — Thai Ocha is still the best Thai food I’ve ever had.

Tell us something unique about your hometown that we can’t find on Wikipedia.

There’s a great vintage store that my friend owns called Circa 77 Vintage, and she’s been collecting vintage pieces…clothing, knickknacks, you name it. I used to live with her, actually; she was my first roommate in Denton. Her and her mom run that store, and it’s amazing. You can’t find that on Wikipedia for sure, so that’s a really good place to stop when you’re in Denton.

I just recently found out about a place that my friend was telling me about, that I had no idea existed, and it’s this place called Goatman’s Bridge. Apparently, it’s a haunted bridge. If you go at night — apparently, someone was killed there. The story is, a lot of people take pictures of these car lights, because there was a murder that happened there, back in the ’60s. A lot of people go and camp out on this bridge at night. I had a picnic there, which was weird! It’s an interesting place; I love stories like that. It’s a cool thing, it’s also in a pretty location.

What was your high school experience like?

Well, I’m not actually from Denton; I call it my hometown now, but I moved here about four-and-a-half years ago. I went to high school in this very, very tiny town called Red Oak, which is growing rapidly, but when I lived there, it was very, very small. I lived there from the time I was eight until eighteen. I graduated a year early; I graduated with a group of my friends — we all decided our sophomore year that we wanted to get out of high school as quickly as possible. A great high school, although it is a blur. It was just kind of easy. When I think about that period of my life, I think about coasting! Literally coasting through time. I had a really solid group of friends.

I was a good kid. I never really applied myself, and I always made really bad grades! I was always a very “D” student who could have been an “A” student, but I just didn’t care. You know, other than that, it was just about getting out of there. It wasn’t because it was hard, I just didn’t care. It’s a strange age, and a lot of rite of passages. But, it was good! I got out of there a year early, which was well worth it, and moved to L.A. for about a year and came back home with my tail between my legs and moved to Denton. It all worked out. It’s a strange time! Everyone is thinking the same thing: “I hope this person likes me.” Everyone is thinking the same thing. It’s just stupid. Unless you go to a really good school, where the arts are encouraged. But, I grew up in a town where football was encouraged.

So, what is the easiest way to get in trouble in Red Oak?

Oh, gosh. There are a number of ways. Well, there are a lot of bored cops. So, you really don’t have to do a ton. Uh, have a house party! I got pulled over once for throwing some trash away in a dumpster on someone else’s property. Uhhh…I don’t know, have a party in a field, or something. There were a lot field parties in high school. Like Dazed and Confused kind of stuff.

What do you miss the most about home when you’re touring?

My bed was the first thing that came to my mind. Is that sad? I really miss Dan’s Silverleaf, which is a bar I used to work at and occasionally [did] some time. On any given night, a group of my very, very close friends are there. Even with a small tour, like two weeks in a row, in sleeping in hotel room beds, you start to miss your bed, and you start to miss the small comforts of home. I think my bed is the main love that I miss when I’m on the road. You start to miss your blankets and your own pillow. I love my blankets; I never want to get out of them.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment