His band, Next Of Kin, played a set at Pirate Cat Radio, then I stuffed my bike into the U-Haul trailer they had rented (they were in fact amidst a short California tour), and we drove to one of the bandmate's sister's apartment.
I had just moved to San Francisco, and I hadn't seen TJ in probably 5 months. It was 2 PM, and before the One Night Music session we stopped at a bar. That's how traveling goes with those boys. Later we arrived at the apartment in Twin Peaks overlooking much of the city, and while most everyone else passed out on the couches or the floor, TJ brought his homegrown Americana/country that makes you think he's been around the block a few more times than his twenty-three years would suggest.
Thomas James Lemieux is a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who physically resembles something of an 80s metal tattoo artist - whatever that means. Musically, however, he pulls Dylan, Jason Molina, or Neil Young, out of hidden influences pocketing his demeanor. He is quite possibly one of the greatest guitar pickers I have been blessed to see and know, someone of the likes of John Fahey. Lyrically one can only assume that he stares, deep, into the frothy depths of his beer bottle. Except that he breathes music, and staring so, he might actually know the source of it all - everything. One might be led to agree, once you've heard his words.
I have known TJ for about four years. In that time he has played in a number of projects, from metal drums, to piano radio shows, to solo folk to the "Hang Tough Root-beard Collective." Currently he is lead guitar and vocals in the LA based group Next of Kin -- a bar room, dartboard sort of amplified alt country rock group with a well-lubed slide guitar. Go find them in LA, or listen to them here:
One Night Music Session #22 is brought to you by the hills of San Francisco, and the pleasure of moving around a new and mysterious city.
Recorded in San Francisco, CA on May 20, 2009.