Wooden Wand’s James Jackson Toth Must Also Love: Short Stories

Even James Jackson Toth’s most rabid fans probably can’t keep track of the prolific singer/songwriter’s output. The Lexington, Ky.-based Toth has issued numerous solo and group efforts (including cassettes, CD-Rs, limited-edition vinyl, etc.) under his own name as well as such monikers as WAND, Wooden Wand And The Vanishing Voice, H.P. Witchcraft, the Jescos and the Blood Group. His latest release is Wooden Wand‘s Death Seat (Young God), an impressive 12-track album produced by YG label head and Swans frontman Michael Gira and featuring musical contributions from members of bands such as Lambchop, Silver Jews, Mercury Rev, Glossary and Fire On Fire. Toth is heading out on European and North American tours in the new year, but in the meantime, he will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with him.

Toth: I’m drawn to short stories for several reasons. First and most obvious is that a short story requires little commitment. Ever read a bad novel? Of course you have. Makes you feel like you’ve wasted a bunch of time. If a short story doesn’t move you, what have you really sacrificed? Twenty minutes? A small price to pay for a brief respite from your mostly prosaic little life. More directly, though, I recently had an epiphany about why I have such an affinity for short-story collections, and it is because they have so much in common with albums. Consider it: 10 to 12 entries by a reliable author, collected in volumes that appear at semi-regular intervals, with cover art and all. An anthology of short fiction? That ain’t nothin’ but a compilation, Jack. And so on. Dig it? My all-time favorites: Pinckney Benedict, Breece Pancake, Raymond Carver, Eudora Welty, Ron Rash, Barry Hannah and Chris Offutt.

Video after the jump.