“I wanted to use 5 because it’s always been ‘my’ number, there are five of us and this is our fifth album,” Jehova Waitresses guitarist/vocalist Linda Roy explained to me, talking about how they arrived at the title for their first new album in more than two decades. “It, the album art and the songs all refer to the journey we’ve been on, the one we’re on now and this direction we’re currently taking with the five of us.”
Looking back now, the band arrived at the perfect moment, opening their musical story in 1989 at a time when quirkiness was encouraged in the developing genre of alternative music. You had bands with names like Toad the Wet Sprocket and Big Head Todd & the Monsters and it made perfect sense for a group like Jehova Waitresses to go against the grain and buck the traditional singer/guitar/bass/drums band structure, adding a violin player into the mix — and splitting vocal and songwriting duties between the members. They were labeled early on as “folk-rock,” but the truth is, they rocked a lot harder than that — packing a significant punch with their live show (a memory that was reinforced recently as I watched some video from the JW archives of them tearing through “Best Game In Town” during a ‘94 show at the Phantasy Nite Club), something which makes their homebrewed tag of “UnCountry” feel more appropriate.
Linda and her husband and longtime musical co-conspirator, guitarist/vocalist Kevin Roy, found their way back into the studio, with songwriter/bassist/vocalist Alan Grandy and violinist Janice Fields-Pohl back in the fold and drummer Jeff Harmon right there behind the kit where he’s always been, to record songs for their new album, Route 5.