Guest article by Audrey René Rodriguez
If you’ve been as entranced by Sabrina Ellis as I have–with her whispy-woman stage presence, powerhouse chords and generous esteem for her bandmates–then you’ve been wondering about something as nagging as an elephant in a room: Bobby Jealousy’s newfound fame.
After A Giant Dog, Bobby Jealousy was the second band Sabrina joined in Austin in 2010 with bandmates Seth Gibbs and Mark Stoney. After 2.5 albums, plus ACL and CMJ appearances, the band has been “retired” since Sabrina and Seth’s marriage split. But with recent attention from Comedy Central’s newest show, Big Time in Hollywood, FL featuring the song “Rainbow” as its show theme, Sabrina had the tough decision of considering whether she wanted to juggle three bands.
While performing booking, touring, accounting and press correspondence duties for two bands, Sabrina also holds two service industry jobs and expends creative energy bouncing lyrics off longtime friend and song writing buddy, Andrew Cashen. She has ultimately decided to remain managerial queen of A Giant Dog and soul/country incarnated Sweet Spirit, rather than rejoin Bobby Jealousy’s new lineup. Yes, they’ve decided to regroup (at a time TBD) as Seth Gibbs, Rockyanne Bullwinkle (Bad Lovers) and Justin Smith (Rolland Hazzard).
Sabrina expressed that she’s eagerly awaiting Bobby Jealousy’s resurrection, as frontman Seth Gibbs has always been a “severe influence on [her] musical evolution.”
Fresh Off Free Week
If you missed Sweet Spirit or A Giant Dog during Free Week, don’t worry. You can actually pay for a show now. After Hotel Vegas’ last free show on Saturday, January 17th, Sabrina graciously related charismatic anecdotes from Free Week. She naturally had two favorite shows, one for each of her bands. For Sweet Spirit, it was at 9 Mile’s showcase at the Mohawk on January 4th sharing the lineup with The Mirauders, Sounds del Mar and The Bop English. Sabrina described Sounds Del Mar as “a four-piece of sound engineers [that] played an immaculate, jacked-up, 70s infused forty minutes.”
On January 9th, A Giant Dog headlined at Hotel Vegas for a Free Week reunion with garage rockers The Crackpipes. They played with A Giant Dog at its first Free Week show at the old Emo’s in 2007.
For Sabrina Ellis, Free Week is a tradition renowned for welcoming patrons free of charge while simultaneously paying the bands. For Sweet Spirit, Free Week will always be the site of their debut at Red 7 early in 2014, after just four rehearsals.
The culmination of Sweet Spirit came after Sabrina was invited to record with band Low Cut Connie in November 2013. It was producer Thomas Brenneck who advised Sabrina to start a new band: “Steal if you have to; get the best players you possibly can.”
So Sweet Spirit became first, drummer Daniel Blanchard (Wiretree/Leatherbag), guitarist/vocalist Andrew Cashen, keyboardist Jake Knight (formerly of Bobby Jealousy), bassist Jon Fichter and–by virtue of his enthusiasm and artistic chemistry with the rest of the band–Joshua Merry as lead guitarist.
With this year’s Free Week in the past, here’s a short overview of what Sabrina’s bands Sweet Spirit and A Giant Dog have been working on:
- Sweet Spirit Residency at The Blackheart (live album release date TBD in 2015)
- Sweet Spirit recorded 4 tracks via Mike McCarthy and 9 Mile Records
- A Giant Dog recorded third LP (release date and label TBA in 2015)
- Sweet Spirit release of 10” EP recorded with 9 Mile in July
- Sweet Spirit ten-day recording session with 9 Mile Records
Here is the first track off Sweet Spirit’s EP. The song is called “Let Me Be On Top,” which Sabrina has claimed to be “about…ambition.”
Have you seen Sabrina Ellis perform in Austin?
Audrey René Rodriguez is an Austin music reviewer who has written for Austin Fusion Magazine, Ovrld.com and now The Austinot. You can follow her music commentary and other tweets @audriguez.