Jenny Scheinman has an unusual background to be opening Tuesday at the Southgate House for The Flatlanders, the trio of veteran Texas singer-songwriters (Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock) who invented the Alternative Country/Americana genre back in the 1970s.
Yes, she does have her own Americana-influenced singer/songwriter album, the eponymous Jenny Scheinman, produced by singer/songwriter/guitarist Tony Scherr and containing her lovely and quietly introspective, fiddle-infused compositions.
But she also has five instrumental albums featuring her on violin — music that traverses between Classical, Jazz, Folk and Contemporary String Orchestra and uses such Jazz musicians as guitarist Bill Frisell, cornet player Ron Miles and pianist Jason Moran.
Scheinman, a child prodigy on violin and piano, studied music at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music but left and eventually received a literature degree from University of California at Berkeley.
Based in New York with an active career as a side person at recording sessions, she has played on albums by such singer/songwriters as Lucinda Williams, Ani DiFranco, Carla Bozulich and Norah Jones. The latter, a good friend, encouraged Scheinman to do more singing and writing. So she did, reconnecting with her own Folk and Americana roots in the process.
Scheinman grew up near the northern California hamlet of Petrolia, her rural house perched near the Pacific Ocean. Her parents had moved from the East Coast in the 1970s and loved Folk.
“The town was a couple hours from anywhere, but music would still come there and there would be Grange Hall dances all the time,” she recalls, in a telephone interview. “It was all old Country music. There was an aging Old Timer community that now has been mostly replaced by newcomers. So that stuff is real familiar to me, and I realized it still is a deep part of me.”
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