The question inevitably arises for any couple who’s been together a while: “So, do you want to have kids?” Usually those inquiries come from well-intentioned friends and family. For singer-violinist Jenny Scheinman and her boyfriend, they were asking each other. That’s how the song “Run Run Run” came to be.
“I avoided commitment for a long time,” Scheinman tells CMT Edge. “And one night five or so years ago as I was sitting across the table from my boyfriend discussing the already-tired subject of whether or not to have kids, I realized that the whole idea was antithetical to our modus operandi which until that point had been the improv joyride of the artists’ extended adolescence.”
She adds, “We’d been avoiding commitment for years and it was going to take a massive shift of consciousness to ever decide to have kids, share a bank account, get married, consider our future. We’d actually have to decide to grow up. The song came out as a sort of accusation but it applied to both of us.”
Scheinman and her partner, graphic artist Andrew Nofsinger, welcomed their second child in 2012 and relocated from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Northern California. That same year, she was unexpectedly offered a week in the studio with producer Tucker Martine, and simultaneously, the chance to record with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Brian Blade. Thus, the Americana-leaning album, The Littlest Prisoner, was born as well.
“Bill and Brian are sublime musicians,” says Scheinman, who draws on folk and jazz for her original music. “They have found a way to stay rooted and lift off at the same time. They have found a way to breathe life and emotion into a song and a lyric. To support a lyric without limiting their expressiveness … and the week we spent together was just heaven. And I couldn’t be happier with the album. It’s got body — just listen to Brian’s bass drum! — and spirit.”
For the studio version of “Run Run Run,” she invited Bruce Cockburn to record the guitar part that he’d written when the pair toured together. She’ll be able to share that unique arrangement with audiences, too, when she resumes touring with him in August.
Asked if she hears a country music influence in the song, she replies, “When I play ‘Run Run Run’ with an acoustic band, it sounds like bluegrass or country music. That’s the core. And my sense of tone and rhythm comes out of my early life as a fiddler so I very easily go to that soaring lonesome thing. And you’ll also get to hear the subtle Johnny Cash guitar stuff in Bill’s part. It’s like a ghost down in there, subtlety referencing one of the defining sounds of country music.”
For the elegant music video, she enlisted Frisell and drummer Rudy Royston to successfully recreate that studio magic. Take a look at Jenny Scheinman’s “Run Run Run.”