Jenny Owen Youngs is a singer and songwriter and dinosaur lover who lives in Brooklyn. She's also a pretty good tweeter. I heard she thought she was better than me, so I challenged her to a duel via direct message.
@andybotpgh First question: What's your favorite kind of bird, ever? I know you have one.
@jennyowenyoungs All right!! If archaeopteryx counts, that's what I'm about. If not, I think I have to go with some kind of puffin.
@andybotpgh What is it with you and prehistoric animals? (Cf. your T-Rex t-shirt, etc.)
@jennyowenyoungs I'd like to counter with, what ISN'T it with YOU and prehistoric animals?
@jennyowenyoungs I went with archaeopteryx because I find proper birds generally difficult to trust-they're all beady eyes and scaly feet, you know.
@andybotpgh Hey, there's nothing wrong with scaly feet, OK?!?!
@andybotpgh As a student of composition and an enthusiast of popular music: In its simplest form, what's the essence of a pop song?
@jennyowenyoungs Something which, when you hear it, makes you feel like a human being.
@andybotpgh You blogged about After the Gold Rush & its overall effect as an album. Is the full-length, as a format, dying? Should we worry about that?
@jennyowenyoungs I love great records. There will always be people who appreciate records as a format. Yes, we've been moving back to the single as a format
@jennyowenyoungs for some time now... but we've also been accepting of autotune for a while now. I think our willingness as a society to accept
@jennyowenyoungs both these things will find a breaking point... and I think it will be in the not-too-distant future. I don't think everyone making music
@jennyowenyoungs "needs" to make albums, either. Listen... four messages is too much. You found a nerve! Sorry for not shutting up sooner!
@andybotpgh What's it like finding videos on Youtube of other people singing your songs?
@jennyowenyoungs The thing is, I don't come across people singing my songs on youtube. I don't search myself on youtube. I don't look up videos people take
@jennyowenyoungs at shows, either. I know all those things exist, though (largely due to my mom), and it's certainly a weird feeling. I'm grateful that kids
@jennyowenyoungs like my music and come to shows, for sure. But it will never be not-weird. Any evidence of people liking my music, or any sign of support
@jennyowenyoungs (kickstarter campaign success, for example) blows my mind every single time.
@andybotpgh Any favorite Pittsburgh things from past trips here -- places to eat, things to see?
@jennyowenyoungs There's an amazing greasy spoon with amazing breakfast... I think it's in squirrel hill? There're wild 50s style illustrations on the walls?
@andybotpgh Probably Pamela's?
@jennyowenyoungs Yes I think pamela's!
@andybotpgh Rod Stewart: Yes or no?
@jennyowenyoungs Is 'HOT LEGS!!!!!' enough of an answer for you?
@andybotpgh It doesn't even matter what the question is, YES.
@andybotpgh Most recent new album you've enjoyed all the way through?
@jennyowenyoungs Most recent album: Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest or Fanfarlo - Reservoir
@jennyowenyoungs Not sure which of those came first. Also forgive me for not being an up-to-the-minute music consumer. I absorb at a stupidly slow pace.
@andybotpgh No apologies; it's not a pop quiz!
@jennyowenyoungs Hey, thanks for the reassurance!!
@andybotpgh I mean, if I turn this into a piece that makes fun of you, rest assured it'll just focus on your love of puffins. Who picks puffins?
@jennyowenyoungs Listen. If that is way it goes, I should tell you I have been on at least one "puffin-watching" cruise. AND when auditioning for a
@jennyowenyoungs children's musical at around age 11, the song I chose to sing to show off my vocal skills was "Song of the Puffin." This is embarrassing.
@andybotpgh Recent book you've read/enjoyed/are reading now?
@jennyowenyoungs Just finished Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (WOW) and Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find (DOUBLE WOW)
@jennyowenyoungs Just started a book about the making of Johnny Cash's album Bitter Tears, from conception through release and backlash and censorship
@jennyowenyoungs The record, which came out a year after, I believe, "Walk the Line" was a HUGE single, is all songs of or about the native people - that's
@jennyowenyoungs how the book chooses to refer to native americans/american indians/name of your preference - and radio stations basically banned it because
@jennyowenyoungs its pro-native people angle. Insane on so many levels - that a huge star would put a tremendous effort into this humanitarian (for lack of a
@jennyowenyoungs better word) passion project at the height of his fame, and that said huge star would be banned by radio, record stores, etc. ok shutting up
@andybotpgh Why should Pittsburghers come out on a Sunday night to see you?
@jennyowenyoungs 1. The drummer of Hank + Cupcakes (they play 2nd) does a lot of standing on her own kick drum
@jennyowenyoungs 2. Sam Bradley's dreamy, lilting English accent
@jennyowenyoungs 3. I promise not to talk too much about the Johnny Cash book or the pros and cons of the shrinking importance of the record as a format
@jennyowenyoungs 4. FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN
Jenny Owen Youngs plays Brillobox Sunday night, Sept. 18. Show starts at 9; Sam Bradley and Hank and Cupcakes open. $10.