Jenny Katz

Jenny Katz

BandPop

Where soul meets storytelling to make songs you'll feel deep down.

Biography

Daughter of a Chicago jazzman and a national-award-winning writer of prose, Jenny's music combines sophisticated chords and rhythmic structure with lyrics you want to sit and listen to. Her tunings and storytelling are often compared to Joni Mitchell, her voice has the low-mids of a Joan Baez, while her offbeat humor calls Warren Zevon to mind. Based half-time in New Haven, CT and half-time in Northampton, MA, Jenny also has an international radio fan base.

Lyrics

Rock

Written By: Jenny Katz

Is it one of those days
with the past upon you
like a blanket of lead
and just getting out of bed
is hard enough
don’t ask for any more please
I know that your heart isn’t fully free
and you’re not fully sure of me
I know that you’re out there, that you’re swimming hard—
stretching out for a distant shore that you cannot see
And if you’re looking for a rock
You wanna catch your breath
If you need a place
where you can find some rest
when you’re lost at sea
you can just swim back to me
Listen
I want to say that I understand when you swim away
I might be lonely, but I’m not afraid to sit and wait
let the waves wash over me
And if you’re looking for a rock
You wanna catch your breath
If you need a place
where you can find some rest
when you’re lost at sea
Honey just swim back to me

Besotted

Written By: Jenny Katz

I’m besotted
Cupid drew his bow and he shot it
You’ve probably spotted the signs
I’ve got designs upon you
Besotted
Cause Baby, you got it
I’m not gonna leave this spot till you’re besotted too
I’m besotted
Though for a long time,
I fought it
I couldn’t stop the slide
Everything mama taught me, I forgot it
Cause I’m besotted
And I’m gonna haunt this spot till you’re besotted too
I’m besotted
Like you were the flu and I caught it
My fever’s running high
I’ve got my eye upon you
Besotted
If you moved to the moon, I’d get astronauted
And I’m gonna give you all that you ever wanted
Get my thumb on your carotid
Stop your pulse and get it restarted
Till you’re besotted too

More Than Reasons

Written By: Jenny Katz

Why do I love you so bad
Why would I drive five hundred miles for the sight
of the light in your eyes

How do you reach me so deep
Why can’t I sleep
until I can breathe you
How do you ease me so

Why do I care this way
I can’t seem to tear myself away

What makes me hold you
so hard
Why does time stop in your arms

Well there’s reasons
and then there’s magic

[BRIDGE]
Words can’t explain
what my heart does
Each time you walk into view
Words are nothing but shadows
But they’re all that we’re given to use

How do you touch me the best
Why can’t I rest
until I am with you
What makes me miss you so

Why do I care this way
I can’t seem to tear myself away

What makes me hold you
so hard
Why does my heart insist
that I’ve got to be kissed
And now kiss me again

Cause there’s reasons
and then there’s magic
Yes there’s so much more than reasons

The Bearded Lady & the Fat Man

Written By: Jenny Katz

There’s a story down the midway strip
Past the man with the animal balloons
Past the psychic with the neon moon
Set to the sound of a calliope tune
Two tents, cheek to cheek
The Fattest Man in the World!
and the Primitive Fur-Covered Woman from Darkest Brazil!
Pay a quarter and take a peek
You catch ‘em back there in between shows
snatching kisses and speaking low
The bearded lady and the fat man
they’ve been an item since the circus began
Two tents with adjoining flaps
Past the table where the Hottentots dance
It’s a midway story, but a three-ring romance
He runs his fingers through the hair on her back, he says, “You know, I’ve never been so happy—
I’m gonna build you a cottage, I’m gonna grow you lilacs
and lilies and columbines and morning glory vines.”
You catch ‘em back there in between shows
snatching kisses and speaking low
The bearded lady and the fat man
they’ve got each other and they’ve got a plan
Two wrongs may not make a right, but two loving freaks make a very nice night
So go and turn the gas lamps blue
Baby let me be a freak with you
“With you,” he said,
“I could do the tightrope walk
I could make the seals stand up and talk
I could juggle a torch
and a watermelon and an egg and a ringing alarm clock.”
“With you,” she said,
“I’m on the trapeze
Like I’m up there swinging by my knees
And when I let go and I’m flying through the air
I know you’ll be my net down there
I don’t know what it is about you baby,” she said,
“I know you make me feel safe
Something real solid about you baby
Something to pin me in place”
She said, “I love you,
you freak, I love you”
You catch ‘em back there in between shows
snatching kisses and speaking low
The bearded lady and the fat man
They know what love is, if anybody can
Two wrongs may not make a right, but two loving freaks make a very nice night
So come on, baby, hold me tight
Two wrongs may not make a right, but two loving freaks make a very nice night
So go and turn the gas lamps blue
Baby let me be a freak with you

Princess, Incognito

Written By: Jenny Katz

Moonlight through the branches I’m standing here alone
Midnight’s just a memory
I can’t find my way home
I forgot the magic words
and the crumbs have been eaten by the birds

My mother knew the danger
She tried to keep me in
Said, Never talk to strangers—
the wolf with a persuasive grin—
But the minute she turned her back
I lit out for the forest black

The quest applies

And it’s the same old story
Same old thing
Everybody thought I oughtta wed the king
Tried to write another song to sing about
Your breath in my brain
The pain was unexpected

Grew up sneaking pages
Flashlight in the quilt
Stories bound in leather
and edged in guilt
Then you fed me gingerbread
and showed me what we could do instead

I wore a peddler’s jacket
I was surprised you couldn’t tell
that you knew me from the palace
I disguised myself too well
And the minute I turned my back
you left me in the forest black

The smart survive

And it’s the same old story
Same old scene
Everybody thinks she’d like to be the queen
Tried to write another song to sing about
Your breath in my ear
It’s unclear you even noticed

The youngest brother
You were supposed to have a heart of gold
The tales told that you were surely the one who would take me away
But then the tale took a twitch
Not surprising to the wicked witch
Who told me from the start
That every human heart
Is only gilded at the rim
She said, You’d better stay away from him

Mistaken implication
‘bout the book and the cover
A green-eyed invitation from another lover
The hope of reconciliation brings me back
to the forest black

The heart contrives

And it’s the same old story
Same old game
You found another princess and you crowned her with your name
Don’t you care that I still feel the same about
Your breath in my life
My life in your hands
Your hands on my heart
My heart in my mouth
on your mouth
Oh

Vanishing

Written By: Jenny Katz

I believed for many years
that I would be well loved if I just did everything right
like a baby on an airplane
we call her good if she stays quiet

What I did not realize
was that I was slowly shrinking in size
every time that I turned my eyes away
instead of saying what I wanted to say

and if I make myself small enough
turn my face to the wall enough
curl into a ball enough
I will not bother you at all

cause I’m vanishing
like a top-hat magician
I’m vanishing
like the news they hide
I’m vanishing
like the oil we keep on drilling
I am vanishing
till I’m all gone
even on the inside

I can’t blame you, although I’d like to
Like to name you as conspirator in my own silence
but the truth is it’s me keeping my own mouth shut
it’s me keeping it inside

The question is one of worthiness
the question is, where do you start
I cannot embrace my fears with my fingers in my ears
determined not to hear my own heart

and if I make myself small enough
if I turn my face to the wall enough
curl into a ball enough
I won’t bother anyone at all

I’ll be vanishing
like a top-hat magician
I’m vanishing
like the news they hide
I’m vanishing
like the oil we keep on drilling
I am vanishing
till I’m all gone

yes I am vanishing
like a top-hat magician
I’m vanishing
like the news they hide
I’m vanishing
like the conscience of our nation
I am vanishing

Galaxies

Written By: Jenny Katz

What do you do when the world that seemed so clear to you is impossibly hidden
How do you cope when you go home alone and the phone that you hear is your own ears ringing
How does it feel when you’re lying in your room and you’re lying to yourself and aligned with nothing—
the latest display in a human museum with a velvet rope saying please no touching
People laugh when you say that you’ve never felt this way before
But galaxies spin out where we’ve never been
so why is it so crazy they should spin within
How do you fire the wire of your frozen spine and get your nerve back
How do you let yourself dare
to walk a barefooted path over broken glass
What do you do with your face in the mirror, your past in the future, your heart on the sleeve
What do you do when you can’t stand leaving, you can’t stop looking, and you can’t breathe
People laugh when you say that you’ve never felt this way before
But galaxies spin out where we’ve never been,
so why is it so crazy they should spin within

Ernst

Written By: Jenny Katz

Mommy was a narcissist and daddy was a drunk
Not that I believe it’s only parents who determine how the kids turn out
But there are those who shouldn’t breed
They didn’t pay attention and they didn’t seem to care
Probably would have left him with a sitter, but the truth is they forgot that he was there
Let me tell you, he remembered
In later years, when the therapist would probe him for the root of all his anger,
here’s what he would tell:
“I only wanted to be held”
The day that he turned nine, he got a kitten in a box
Snowball was a stand-in for all the petting that he never ever got—Happy birthday, Darling
Darling, I want to ride a missile to the moon
Ten-second countdown
No one left to stop it now
Red reactor meltdown
Well I pushed the override of everything inside
Ready for attack
If the world doesn’t love you back, stroke the white cat
He took the Persian every-where, he smuggled it to school
Till they wrote him up for an infraction of the rules and they took the cat away
The camel’s back was broken
The papers wrote in hushed and horror-stricken tones
of the boy who sat among the monkey bars and bones with the kitten in his lap
The schoolyard charred and smoking
To get his pet back was his innocent intention
World domination was the natural extension
It all makes sense if you can feel what he felt
The little boy who just wanted to be held
I want to ride a missile to the moon
Ten-second countdown
No one left to stop it now
Red reactor meltdown
Well I pushed the override on everything inside
Steady for attack
If the world doesn’t love you back, stroke the white cat
Ernst Blofeld only wanted to be held
Ernst Blofeld only wanted to be held
That’s all he ever wanted

Egg

Written By: Jenny Katz

Safe man
Looks a lot like a dead man
Got a thirty-year plan that’ll see him to his grave
He’s got a safe life
Always has to measure twice
Then he's gotta measure one more time
He’s measuring the grave
This is a song from the inside of the egg
Can’t somebody somewhere come and help me break out
Soon enough he’s gonna die
Calendar is flipping by
He lies there in the nighttime and wonders how to change
Reaches out and wakes his wife
Says, “Honey, I wanna live,
I wanna try
Let’s be brave and terrified instead of jumping in the grave”
This is a song from the inside of the egg
Can’t somebody somewhere come and help me break out
Come on
Pretty dark in here now
Get me out of here now
Nothin’ left to fear but fear
I’m ready now
It feels too small
Beat my head on the wall
Think I’m doing it right now
Cause I see a little bit of light now
Soon enough we’re gonna die
Calendar is flipping by
We lie there in the nighttime and wonder how to change
So come and gaze into my eyes
Tell me what you wanna try
Let’s be brave and terrified in honor of the grave
This is a song from the inside of the egg
Can’t somebody somewhere come and help me break out
Come on
Pretty dark in here now
Get me out of here now
Nothin’ left to fear but fear
I’m ready now
It feels too small
Beat my head on the wall
Think I’m doing it right
Cause I see a little bit of light
This is a song from the inside of the egg
Stand back
This is a song from the inside of the egg
Gonna crack
This is a song from the inside of the egg

Monk Comes Home

Written By: Jenny Katz

Monk Comes Home

Monk comes home
It's a rainy Monday
Walks to the corner store
to see what's changed
Nothing
Not the maples, not the people
Even milk and cigarettes
cost the same

Cause it's not that long that she's been gone

Monk comes home
reeking of failure
feeling just as empty
as her begging bowl
What kind of loser flunks yoga?
She couldn't touch peace up there
with a ten-foot soul

And it sure seems long that she's been gone

It's pretty sad
when you sit on a mountaintop bad
It's pretty dumb
expecting the Buddha to come and guide you
It was pretty up there
in that monastery
But who cares
when you can't even feel the feelings inside you

Monk went Om
just a year ago April
She was sure it would bend her
to enlightenment
But it didn't fly
They didn't see eye to third eye
It was more like a bad auto accident

They said don't feel bad
You're not the only one we've had
who couldn't finish—
don't let it diminish you
Namaste, they said
Go in peace, my friend
Go to hell, she replied, and they said
This is exactly the problem

So now she's home
lying in her old bedroom
staring up at the ceiling
that she knows so well
And it can't be denied
that she's mostly a screw-up
but it really was fun to tell them
to go to hell

And for just a blip
she lets her sense of failure slip
Yes she needs a plan
but for once it doesn't seem
so impossible
She can stay for a while
Find a job, save some money
And it won't
be long
before she's gone

Discography

"Galaxies," published 2012, available streamed at http://soundcloud.com/jennykatz or http://jennykatz.bandcamp.com/

Set List

The Dream (Jenny Katz)
Trouble (Ray LaMontagne)
Gimme One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
Princess, Incognito (Jenny Katz)
The Itch (Keb Mo)Don't Mess Around With Jim (Jim Croce)
Do I Move You (Nina Simone)
Teach Me Tonight (Gene De Paul, Sammy Cahn)
Besotted (Jenny Katz)
Inside of Me (Michael and Jenny Katz)
Steam (Jenny Katz)
Goodnight Love (Jenny Katz)
Vanishing (Jenny Katz)
Traffic Jam (James Taylor)
Goodbye to Dry (Jenny Katz)
Egg (Jenny Katz)
Ernst (Jenny Katz)
It's All Right With Me (Cole Porter)
Twisted (Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross)
Beloved (Jenny Katz)
I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash)
Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)