Photo: Lauren Garbutt

We’re doing something a little different today. While all of our features on FTS have been promoting new singles, albums, and interviews with musicians, we’re switching things up and getting in-depth with Evie Jones and Katey Gatta about their upcoming play, JimiBill and Me.

JimiBill and Me is a solo show written by and starring Evie, with musical accompaniment by Katey (who you may also know as Sleepy Jean), telling the story of Jones’ complicated relationship with her Father, Bill. Flipping between Bill and Genevieve, Jones recounts painful and fragile moments from her past.

From The Strait: Tell us about JimiBill and Me.

Katey: JimiBill + Me is a love letter to anyone with a family member who’s struggled with mental health and addiction. Instead of shying away from the gruesome details, Evie takes your hand and walks you through the darkest parts of her inner life. 

FTS: How did this project get started, and what made the two of you want to work together?

Evie: The play first came to me in 2013. I’d just come off a bit acting tour and I wanted to create work that was coming directly from me. The first thing I could think of was an attempt to fill or heal or make sense of this massive void in my life. I wanted to “bring my dad back to life” the way I remembered him. The first script was much more primitive, young and angry. Over the years it has become a much more painfully beautiful, whimsical tale of healing. Katey and I had worked together on The Vagina Monologues and I thought she was wicked talented. I had gone through a deeply painful heartbreak and revisited the script. During that time, Katey naturally stepped in to be the musician on stage with me. She was right for it, and had the hair for it to boot!

FTS: How does the musical aspect work alongside the theatrical aspect – is the accompaniment meant to evoke a certain mood, or is the music more like its own character?

Katey:Without giving away too much, the music is simultaneously a soundtrack and a character! It morphs and moves and ends up representing an entire host of things over the course of the piece.

FTS: Since we’re a music site, what are your favourite bands or artists that you can’t get enough of right now?

Evie: Right now I’m into this artist named Londrelle. Freddy and Francine have impressed me quite a bit, and there is an artist named Fantastic Negrito who can really belt it out and has some extremely impressive guitar thingy’s. Rodriguez is really great. 

Katey: Timber Timbre’s Dissociation Tapes, Lee Hazlewood, the Ink Spots, Kings of Convenience, Rodriguez, Sierra Ferrell and SHITBATS are in heavy rotation for me.

FTS: After this project wraps up, are there plans for any future collaborations?

Evie: I think we are two women in Niagara who work hard and have a lot of respect for one another and what we do. We also have fun along the way. That’s rare. If in the future there is something that I could use Katey for, I will always put her first because not only is she extremely talented, but she’s also shown me loyalty, joy, and care. What I have learned over the years is that this kind of thing is precious and if someone dedicates their own time and their own heart and soul into a higher purpose, a strong artistic vision, then that person and I are one in the same in that way. That deserves reciprocation, acknowledgement and a continued expansion of opportunity.

Katey: There’s actually another sneaky collaboration waiting to be rolled out into the world…. but yes probably.

FTS: In one sentence each, tell our readers why they need to grab tickets and come see this show.

Evie: Theatre happens fast. It is there and then it is gone. You can’t miss JimiBill and Me because seeing this play is sure to transform you!

Katey: Drama! Lights! Music! Looping! Live!

JimiBill and Me runs August 27th & 28th at Camp Cataract in Niagara Falls. Tickets are available here, through Eventbrite. You can also learn more via the event Facebook page. CDs will be available for purchase at the show.