Longtime Culturalista Matt Jones has a new CD out called "The Devil's in This Whiskey" with his new project, Brooklyn's Two Cent Revival. The album mixes "folk-tinged Americana and classic country elements with dark lyrical themes and an acoustic-focused rock band." In our "A Minute With..." interview, he talks about being adopted, trying to avoid hurting people's feelings, and why New York needs more homeless shelters. Check out the link to a free download from "The Devil's in This Whiskey" at the end of the interview. Enjoy!
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
A slightly neurotic, racially ambiguous pirate / cowboy / hippie with a heart of gold.
Which living person do you most admire?
Paul Rusesabagina, the Rwandan featured in Hotel Rwanda, who sheltered thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan massacres of 1994. I can't even imagine the courage required to do this.
What is your favorite virtue in a woman?
True kindness, without a doubt. The single most important quality in my book.
What is your greatest fear?
On a day to day basis, my greatest fear is to hurt other people's feelings, almost to a fault. In terms of larger fears, the fear of dying painfully, and in the abstract, the fear of regretting my life on my death bed.
What do you hate?
I don't hate much, but I guess you could say I hate willful ignorance, the wearing of lack of knowledge and insight like a badge of honor. One should constantly work to keep pushing one’s preconceptions, never remain stagnant. And I don't buy lack of resources or time as an excuse. Jet Blue flights are cheap, and cultivated empathy, critical thinking, and Wikipedia are free.
If not yourself, who would you be?
Wow, I could write a book about this, great question. Well, I was adopted, and love my life and family, but sometimes wonder who I'd be had I not been adopted from Brazil. I'd probably be very different in many ways, obviously, but I'd like to think the same in many ways. Like someone who could be my brother.
If you were the mayor of NYC, what is the first thing you would do?
I would build many more facilities to house homeless populations, and make sure that everyone who needs psychiatric care can have access to services. Homeless people are an underrepresented population that doesn’t often have a strong voice to influence the political guard.
How would you describe NYC in one sentence?
Kind of like the Winston Churchill quote, replacing democracy with NYC, and government with City: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." It's the City I love to hate on, but begrudgingly love.
What advice would you have for a freshly-arrived, wide-eyed musician who wants to make it in NYC?
I'd suggest not trying to figure out how to make it. Just get out there, play a bunch, meet a lot of fellow musicians, write songs everyday, be open, kind, gracious, and humble, and see what organically grows out of your efforts.