Article/interview by Jenni Thomas
Photograph by Fitz
Since moving to Norfolk in 2005 with just a car full of musical equipment, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Ronnie Talman has been a major driving force in the local music scene. You can usually find him about town quietly smoking a cigarette and donning his signature neckerchief (ascots are tied differently, duh), a buttondown shirt, slacks, and cowboy boots, that make him come off as an almost anachronism in Norfolk. His somber, urban cowboy demeanor is echoed in his music and performance. Talman has co-founded a countless number of bands such as The Dirty Tramps, Diamond Star Halo, Ronnie T and the Golden Harmonies, The Doll Hollers, and The Mirrors to rattle off a few. Currently, he is the frontman for the Gypsy Jazz-inspired band Janks.
When did you start playing music and what instruments do you play?
It wasn’t until I was a teenager when I began to take it seriously. I was moving around a fair amount during that time and I was never a “cool kid”, so I’d just play my guitfiddle. I can probably play any instrument halfway believable, minus a brass instrument.
What influenced you musically as a kid?
As a kid, my Ma would always play Janis Joplin and like a lot of mothers of my generation was a Beatle maniac. I was only hearing songs of yesteryear for the longest time… Shit, I didn’t even know who Cobain was until five years after he shot his face off.
Who are your favorite musicians?
Off the top of my head, Louis Arm- strong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, and Howlin’ Wolf. As far as current stuff goes, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and Amy Winehouse.
Who are the Janks and how did you guys get started?
Two years ago Dan and I started this thing. Daniel Neale is the work horse driving the train with drums, accordion, and backup vocals and Micah Kaplan holds down the fort on the double bass and is the bridge between me and Dan. Tim Reynolds plays the trumpet and is the music theory authority. Jamie Ingram on the tenor sax brings the hellfire and organized chaos together, and Matt Paddock on soprano sax brings experience and finesse to the horn section. Michael Morgan is on percussion and keeps us in time and I play guitar, vocals, and banjo and attempt to conduct the whole train without getting too off course. We’re a bunch of people trying to play janky, jazzy, jive in a busted up fashion, so the name Janks made sense.
What’s in store for Janks in the future?
We are just starting to get the point of working on an album. We have a good sound and who knows what we will do with it.
for more on Janks visit:
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