IMAGES: To download, click above. Photo credit to Rachael Cassells on first image. Photo credit to Jmy Kidd on the second.


Orindal Records

Tara Jane O’Neil


Transformation is what happens in the hinge between before and after.

A house burns down and is rebuilt again, persons become spirit, known worlds break apart and fall together again. Tara Jane O’Neil’s new album, The Cool Cloud of Okayness, was written amidst the skirmishes and shuffle of the seven years since her last song based album (although there has been a fascinating array of collaborations, tributes, rarities, and experiments released in the interim). Recorded by TJO at her home studio in Upper Ojai, California, a studio built on the ashes of the home lost to the Thomas Fire.

Many of The Cool Cloud of Okayness’s nine tracks were developed in the time between the wildfire and the rebuilding, between lockdown and reopening. TJO, her partner (dancer, choreographer and frequent collaborator) Jmy James Kidd and their dog sheltered from the storms in the high desert of Southern California and the deep suburbs of Louisville, KY. In these locales were discovered the improvised bass guitar figures to Kidd’s dance which transformed into songs during pandemic isolation, then brought to the ensemble of drummer/percussionist Sheridan Riley (of Alvvays), multi-instrumentalist Walt McClements, and on a couple, guitarist Meg Duffy (of Hand Habits).  They build and gleefully destroy and rebuild again. There is joy in the ensemble’s shared queer identity- an identity that refuses to be agreed upon. This record too challenges any easy genre or definition. This record is sculpture and portrait of times and loved ones gone past. It is spiritual and it is psychedelic. TJO’s deft production and rock-solid bass playing hold the center, and her spectral guitar and singing voice carry the message.

The Cool Cloud of Okayness sings sometimes like a promise, sometimes like a mantra. It says “We are bright, like the fire. Joy too can be a way of fighting.” In the persistent rhythms, every repetition feels like a challenge. How many times around the sun? What changes every time? How much loss can someone take? Grief becomes a feedback loop that drones on and on, yet if we listen closely one can almost hear the hope sprouting up, little seedlings pushing through the mud. The Cool Cloud of Okayness is both a celebration and a requiem, it transforms grief, it carries a torch, and the torch is bright.

“where we first received the arrow
there remains a joyful wound
for joy is a form of fight,
we bright.”

-from “We Bright” by Tara Jane O’Neil


Tara Jane O’Neil – Bass, Bass VI, guitar, keyboard, percussion, vocals
Sheridan Riley – Drums (except “Cool Cloud,” “A Dash,” “Kaichan Kitchen”)
Walt McClements – Accordion, keyboards, trumpet (except “Cool Cloud,” “A Dash,” “Kaichan Kitchen”)
Meg Duffy – Guitar Processor 10 on “Seeing Glass,” “Two Stones”
Marisa Anderson – Guitar ghost notes on “Cool Cloud of Okayness”

Jody Bleyle and Twylo Landey – Vocals on “Glass Island”
Sonny Koch and Devika Wickremesinghe- Vocals on “Curling”
Jmy, Teeny, Lena Kassof – Ambient vibe

Recorded and produced by TJO at Upper O
Mixed by TJO and Scott Hirsch and Echo Magic Sound
Additional recording on “Cool Cloud of Okayness” by John Morgan Askew at Bocce Studios
Mastered by Warren Defever at Third Man Mastering

Cover collage by Sara O’Neil
Clouds and cosmic eggs by TJO
Layout by Miles Wintner

Jmy Kidd, Teeny, Wilder Schwartz, Katy Davidson, Nick Krgovich, Rob Jones, Liz Mitchell, Samara Lubelski, Chris Cohen, Elaine Carey, Norio Fukuda, Owen Ashworth.

All songs Tara Jane O’Neil Copyright 2024 BMI