Jo Pie Whyld
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Jo Pie Whyld

Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States | INDIE

Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Whyld Thing"

Although Hope Thomas has been performing all of her life, it wasn’t until more than two years ago that she decided to pick up a guitar and start playing seriously.

Recently, Thomas, 20, of Ypsilanti, a student of Washtenaw Community College majoring in music production and engineering, has released her first EP on Vyne Records as Jo Pie Whyld, a combination of childhood nicknames.


Jo Pie Whyld (Jennifer Gentner courtesy photo)
The new record is called “Songs for Noah.”

Named for her pet dog who suffers from genetic, skeletal defects, “Songs for Noah” was written, recorded and mixed all by Thomas with her microphone and interface in her apartment.

Originally from Lawrence, about a half hour outside of Kalamazoo, Thomas has been attending WCC since Fall of 2010 and by signing with Vyne she’s hoping to support herself through music.

“The way this works is they promote me, I sing; they promote me some more and I sing some more,” Thomas said. “Signing with Vyne is like me seriously saying, ‘I want to do this, I’m putting all I got into it, I’m investing into Vyne and I’m investing in my music.’”

Making the decision to move to Ypsilanti, halfway across the state, was easy for Thomas. She knew that WCC was the right place for her if she was going to start studying music on a more passionate level.

“I haven’t had struggles with singing although I really don’t know how I got to where I’m at,” she said. “But I’ve matured emotionally – which is essential to writing music.”

While Thomas hasn’t suffered the displeasure of losing her voice, she says that playing the guitar has been the most difficult part of her music career.

“Of course, I want to get better,” she said. “I don’t want to be a songwriter, or just a guitar player, or just be a singer. I want to be all three and do them better than what I’m capable of now.”

While that road may be uncertain for Thomas, she looks forward to the strong relationship she has with Pat Raymond of Vyne Records.

It was July of 2011 at one of the several open-mic nights when Raymond, out scouting for Vyne, noticed Thomas’s talent.


Jo Pie Whyld smiles at fans who chant her name before her performance on Jan. 14 at Crossroads Bar and Grill in Ypsilanti. (Jennifer Gentner courtesy photo)

Jo Pie Whyld plays her song, ‘Despair’ at Crossroads Bar and Grill on Jan. 14. (Jennifer Gentner courtesy photo)
“Her voice is what sets her apart,” Raymond said. “When it comes to music, it’s not just somebody’s voice. Someone can have a very beautiful voice, but the fact that she was able to take the lyrics and take her voice and put it with a simple melody was amazing.”

Raymond, 22, of Ann Arbor, a recent University of Michigan graduate, has one goal for Thomas: to give her music the exposure that will allow her to earn a living.

“Sustainability, for me, for her means that she wouldn’t have to work at a coffee shop during the day to sing,” he said. “Our No. 1 goal is getting her in front of as many people that will listen.”

Thomas’s view for the future is similar.

“The next step for me is to keep practicing and refining my skills,” she said. “I’m not anywhere (near) where I want to be, but I’ll be there soon. I know that I will be coming out with another EP or another album relatively soon.”

At Crossroads in Ypsilanti, Thomas’s sister, Elly Thomas, had the chance to see her little sister play for the first time.

“I don’t know how she does it. For her, it just seems so effortless,” Elly said.

Her mother, Anne Hawkinson, 54, agrees.

“It wasn’t until 2 ½ years ago, she decided that music was her passion,” Hawkinson said. “Her dad and I are supportive of her, and I’m just glad she’s found something she loves and she’s good at it.”

For more information on Jo Pie Whyld visit http://jopiewhyld.com. - The Washtenaw Voice


"Vyne Records making a name for itself"

The themes of "do it yourself" and cooperation with other local artists have been part of the mix since the beginning of local startup record label Vyne Records.

For someone so heavily involved in local music now, Vyne Records co-founder Pat Raymond came late to the scene, only picking up a guitar for the first time in the fall of 2009. He honed his craft for months and then starting playing open mic nights around the area, and also started making friends with area musicians.

"I played a house show, back in April, a house party," Raymond said, noting that two of the bands he met at the party later ended up signing up with Vyne Records.

"And I realized they were only able to throw the party because one brought a PA system, another band brought a microphone, and so on. They shared their equipment. I thought we should pool resources, and we could really do something. If we all tried to record on our own, we would not be capable of doing it."

Raymond and some of the musicians he met that night came together and started planning a record label.

"That was the beginning of Vyne Records," he said.

However, though the other musicians wanted to be in bands, no one except Raymond was particularly interested in the business end.

The business end of the label didn't come together until Raymond tried to get on stage at a summer music festival, and encountered Alex Marr, the man who is the other co-founder of Vyne Records.

Marr wasn't able to get Raymond on stage to play, but a connection was established. Marr ended up drumming with one of Vyne Records' recording artists, The Boileroom Volcanoes.

Raymond, a University of Michigan student studying business, and Marr, an Eastern Michigan University student studying arts administration, put together a show at Woodruff's in Ypsilanti, and that was the first Vyne Records show.

"After that, Alex and I talked about getting serious," Raymond said.

Raymond joined other local musicians in looking for a house to rent, initially thinking they might find a house with an outbuilding to record in, like a barn. "Somewhere we could be as loud as we wanted," Raymond said.

What the group found, instead, was a house right near campus that already had the basement half-transformed into a studio space. The landlord had outfitted it to attract music students from the University of Michigan, and it was a serendipitous find for the record label's founders.

Since then, Raymond, Marr and those signed to the label have transformed the basement space further, with one large area and several smaller ones for recording, each with different ambient sound due to differences in the sizes of the space and the way they are equipped.

Ramond called his business partner "an interesting guy" who can "walk through a room, and everyone wants to talk to him."

Raymond said both founders have been told they're charismatic, and that has helped with networking, he said.

"We can go out and find people who help us out - other bands, or people showing up to give us advice, or telling us, 'You have to talk to this guy.'"

Vyne Records has put on several shows this autumn, including a multimedia October show at Ypsilanti's Dreamland Theater, during which a local artist created a painting in real time as some of the Vyne artists played their sets.

Vyne Records' current lineup of artists includes The Boileroom Volcanoes, Cigarette Merry-Go-Round, Midwest Skies!, Jo Pie Whyld, and Raymond's solo act.

Midwest Skies! Is a three-piece band from Grand Rapids that Raymond described as having a "pop-punk" sound. He said they have an already-established fan base, largely cultivated by putting on dynamic live shows.

"The band's greatest asset is their live performance. Every time I've seen them play, they got the crowd up and moving and into the music, which is very difficult for new artists," Raymond said.

Jo Pie Wyhld is a solo artist named Hope Thomas. She got a chance to shine at a recent Vyne Records show in downtown Ann Arbor Nov. 4 at Elmo's Print Shop on Main.

"I met her when I was playing open mic circuits in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti cafes. Her beautiful voice and songwriting talent for such a young artist are unbelievable," Raymond said.

She's putting the finishing touches on her first album, and an album release party is set for Dec. 2 at METAL in Ann Arbor.

Raymond knows members of two of the other labels' bands very well, since he went to high school with musicians in both Cigarette Merry-Go-Round and The Boileroom Volcanoes. Merry-Go-Round members describe their sound as "exotic rock," while the Volcanoes kick out "good, old-fashioned but refreshing rock and roll," according to Raymond.

Raymond said to know whether the bad is a good fit for the label is not about what genre their music fits into but rather whether he feels a connection to the band and their music.

"I have to like their music. They have to interest me. It has to be something that motivates me to work," he said.

The next chance for the public to catch a Vyne Records artist playing live is 9 p.m. Saturday, in a gig in the back room of The Vintage Twin - a vintage clothing shop in downtown Ann Arbor - that will introduce Midwest Skies! to the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area.

To learn more about the record label or upcoming shows by Vyne Record artists, visit the group's Facebook page.
- Ypsilanti Courier


"The Buzz - December"

Here in the Washtenaw County area, we’re lucky to be a part of one the best local music scenes you can find anywhere. Case in point—Hope Thomas. Thomas, the one-woman show better known as Jo Pie Whyld, does it all—she’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist, ukulelist and bassist. And, with the final touches coming along for her first album, “Songs for Noah,” Jo Pie Whyld will be hosting an album release party on Dec. 2 at the Metal art gallery in Ann Arbor.

Thomas, a product of local record label Vyne Records, has combined her insightful song-writing talents with simple and joyful melodies. Songs like “Spring” and “LANA” showcase Thomas’ command of the many instruments she plays and highlight her knack for song-writing. The album release party will give listeners a chance to chat with Jo Pie Whyld and experience her music in a personal and intimate setting. Local music enthusiasts and fans of simple, upbeat folk music will appreciate what Joe Pie Whyld has to offer in her debut record.

Metal is located at 220 Felch Street in Ann Arbor. Cover for the release party is five dollars and doors will open at 8 p.m. For more information, please visit metaloffmain.com. - iSpy Magazine


Discography

"Songs for Noah" EP

Photos

Bio

With only one EP released thus far, the young singer/songwriter Jo Pie Whyld has stunned audiences with her brilliant songwriting and beautiful voice. Attracting listeners’ undivided attention with amazing vocals, Jo Pie draws them deeper into her songs with simple melodies and clever lyrics that touch on nostalgic feelings of love, loss, and hope. Her music’s folk and Americana roots stem from her personal experiences and emotions while growing up in her small Midwest hometown, and later, moving to Ypsilanti, Michigan. From playful to somber, Jo Pie has an uncanny ability to lyrically describe life in a way that connects with the hearts and minds of listeners. As a multi-instrumentalist, Jo Pie composes every part of her songs from percussion and bass guitar to acoustic/electric guitar and keys. She has developed her talent and skills without any formal training, resulting in a completely unique style. Currently, she is signed with the Ann Arbor-based label Vyne Records and working on her next release.