For more than two decades John Terlesky has been faithfully writing and recording songs, first as part of Philly garage rockers the Original Sins in the late 1980s, and for the past decade under the moniker Brother JT. His work has shifted between R&B, garage and straight-up jams, all of it with a unique eye for detail and quirk.
But last February he started a new project, taking the jump from aural to physical. He began working on a large-format, full-color book that will be a collection of his lyrics, journal entries and illustrations, all accompanied by a CD. “It started as a lyric workbook and it became something totally else,” Terlesky says. “I’m kind of excited about it just because it’s so different. I’ve never put out a book before.”
The songs on the accompanying album, Terlesky adds, are also quite different. “It’s all over the place—there are a couple that have a country vibe to them, but there’s also stuff like a drum box, heavy bass synthesizers, stuff that’s kind of funky, and there’s other stuff that’s just not classifiable.”
Throughout his career Terlesky has approached lyricism and songwriting from the same perspective. “The songs are therapeutic,” he says. “They take that burden off my shoulders and off my heart. Whatever has been bothering me, I write a song about it and somehow it resolves it. And then the end is that it can be heard, too, so that maybe some other people can relate as well.”
He adds, “Sometimes, you have to remind yourself when you’re on stage ... ‘Remember what this [song] is about. Remember the emotion behind it.’ It revitalizes the song when you collect the emotions back up.” ■
Fri., Nov. 27, 9pm. $8. With Three 4 Tens + the Successful Failures. Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. thekhyber.com