By Dee Jae Cox
The art of storytelling is a social and cultural activity that has spanned the centuries since before the written word. It is one of the oldest art forms and every generation of every culture has used this craft for entertainment, education or cultural preservation. Stories were told to recount and immortalize historic events. They were cautionary tales and lessons. Stories were family histories passed down orally from one generation to the next.
Stories can be expressed through verbal and written expression, as well as music, dance or simply hushed images whispered to an eager audience. But one of the most popular forms of story crafting has always been through songs. Some of the oldest and greatest legends were written in verse. Even Homer’s the Illiad and Odyssey had a musical lilt.
In contemporary times, singers and musical groups are not just entertainment; they are a part of the ancient tradition of storytelling. Modern bards who write about the spectrum of life’s experiences. From political protest to broken hearts, songs convey our deepest beliefs and emotions.
So it is always a thrill to discover new voices whose talents symbolize the best in entertainment, fun, pleasure and a dash of storytelling through their music. Such is the case with Singer /Songwriter Jhey Castles, who was looking for a way to get her songs out to an audience. She formed the band, Jhey and the Whee, four years ago with only her ukulele and a drummer. The band now consists of five memebers, Jhey Castles (Uke/lead vocals), Wesley Hall (drums / vocals), Alex Romero (bass), Jody Rorhl (guitar) and Kate Bowman (back-up vocals). A favorite is Castles’ sultry and poignant tune, “Tear me apart.”
Jhey and the Wee, is an Americana Blues Rock band, who perform a lot of original music, as well as classic blues, rock, and bluegrass. Castles’ music is described as “intimately honest, sometimes filthy, introspective lyrics that strike a familiar chord with her audience that makes her feel like family.”
The Whee’s backup singer, Kate Bowman, is a successful L.A. actress and the Cofounder of the 2Cents Theatre Group, (www.2centstheatre.com.) In speaking with Bowman, I asked if she considered herself to be an actor who sings or a singer who acts, she gave the perfect response; “I consider myself an actor first. And I think the reason I’m an actor, and my purpose as an actor, is to tell stories and to help people feel understood, by helping to tell their story. Jhey is an amazing songwriter (and she’s an accomplished actor as well, so we speak a similar language) and getting to know her music, and feeling like I can help tell her story by creating harmonies that enhance and further craft it, speaks to my purpose.”
On September 22, 2018, the world famous, Palm Canyon Roadhouse, (535 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264) will host the “Melrose Music Review2” an invasion of the best L.A. Bands right in the heart of Palm Springs. Jhey and the Whee, will be heating up the desert with their unique music and one of a kind #donkeykick drinking game. It’s a night to go out with friends, relax, enjoy the music and treat yourself to an incredibly good time.
Dee Jae Cox is a playwright, director and producer. She is the Cofounder and Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project.