she may not look like it, but jo gore sings and performs like she's been doing this for 40 years. her voice has the range, timbre, and control of some of the industry's most seasoned veterans. for a more accurate description, this mezzo soprano sounds like the grown-up nerdy love child between tina turner and amy winehouse. jo gore's delivery is a unique blend of tina's grit and soul coupled with amy's rawness and sophistication. there's real struggle, pain, and grit woven into these melodies and lyrics.
throughout her new record i am worthy, jo gore remains elusive and tight lipped about the identity of the hung hollowed heart handsome man with the dimpled chin. curiously, the same man is mentioned in about seven songs. not only did this son of a bitch break the artist's heart, but it sounds like the asshole almost broke jo's spirit. name calling has legal implications and jo gore does a delicate juggling act walking the lyrical tightrope of autobiographical fiction. yet several album tracks continue to hint at abuse and tragedy. consider the lyrics from the soulful climatic track entitled play james. leaving the melody intact, jo re-wrote verses to james taylor's fire and rain. yesterday morning, i made a plan to get away from you. i got up early and wrote down james' song, but I ain't got nobody to sing it to. and consider the tearful lament god of slaves #17. it's a lo-fi recording of a painful lullaby that appears to hint at rape and incest. don't hurt her, the same way you hurt me. she was just a girl and one day she'll be me. i don't wish this pain on nobody. you're too old to be a better man. you made us pray and you made us believe. may the god of slaves take it away. jesus christ, these lyrics are gutrenching.
and yet it didn't take long for a few song-writing sessions and rehearsals to stir the warm musical ashes that allowed the gorey phoenix to emerge. by the end of i am worthy, all hell has broken loose and jo gore is coming for blood. this time the microphone is her sword. sounding like a female kendrick lamar, jo gore spits pure fire in the spoken word piece entitled my knee. a few of my favorite verses include fuck all the black and white bill cosbies. i'll take a mattress on the floor and keep my dirty concrete. be broken in school, counting pennies. with band bros, busted washer-dirty laundry. inspired by winfrey, let me take a knee. inspired by colin, this album is my knee. again, some of these songs could easily become anthems for the #metoo movement but hardcore feminists can't hijack the entire the record just yet.
thankfully, jo has written songs that reflect a careful blend of sex and satire for mainstream radio. consider the fun comedic tune entitled self care. it's about female primping and setting personal boundaries. playfully she sings, ...don't touch me boy, i need an hour or two. i'm all natural fair trade. i got it from whole foods. and yet jo gore is most seductive and desirous in survival. with an african phil collins in the background, jo calls to a church-going lad and whispers come me to on your knees when you need to believe. i'll be your god and your religion. come to the motherland. open your mother lips and speak with your mother tongue.
in real life, jo is no dummy. she's a full time student at north carolina central university majoring in computer science and business. when she's not writing songs, producing records, or running across the stage barefoot, she's studying programming, calculus, or interning at a tech firm. in 2018, she won $25,000 in scholarships and flew to wall street, nyc twice to speculate with traders and geek out with financial network engineers. it's no wonder she writes in lowercase and performs songs about spiritual and emotional coding and re-programming. check out code and python. furthermore, this brainy brown beauty's lyrical prowess stems from her studies at the university of north carolina at chapel hill where she graduated with an english lit/african studies degree in 2015. while at unc, she spent an entire year living aboard in several african countries. she's full of stories about neo-colonialism, nelson mandela, charging rhinos, and nation building. the real jo gore is just as colorful as her lyrics.
i am worthy is so much more than a collection of sad love songs. jo isn't just a woman scorn. this record is about failure, redefining success, setting boundaries and breaking rules. finally, jo has found the courage to be vulnerable. this record is her poetic truth. let's all just hope that the fucktard she sings about isn't a sore loser. otherwise, she may need a restraining order.
p.s. she is far more beautiful in person. god done good.
thomas, the goat