You Are All My People
After two decades as a fan of the Silos, acclaimed author Jonathan Lethem finally approached the group’s front man, Walter Salas-Humara, at a show. They made small talk about co-writing, but it was only after Salas-Humara read (and was blown away by) Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude that the partnership really got under way. Lethem planned to add a line to a Silos song or two, but new Austinite Salas-Humara had something else in mind: an entire album set to Lethem’s lyrics. Joined by musicians Philip Hernandez and Chris Maxwell (Lethem does not play an instrument), the curiously named collective, I’m Not JiM, produced a fascinating recording, You Are All My People (Bloodshot). Salas-Humara’s vocals naturally evoke the minimalist rock of the Silos (“Amanda Morning” would fit in on any of their albums), but Lethem gives the listener plenty to chew on: His lyrics turn edgy (“Drink ’Til I’m Sober”), enigmatic (“Elevated Plane”), and mournful (“After Mild Winter”), and the players respond in kind. While so many side projects seem designed more for musicians than fans, I’m Not Jim is a unique and winning collaboration.