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Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Julie Jane" by Jackson Pines

By Bob Makin

originally published: 06/21/2024

Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Julie Jane" by Jackson Pines

The Makin Waves Song of the Week is Jackson Pines’ cover of Merce Ridgway Sr.’s “Julie Jane” from their forthcoming album, “Pine Barrens Volume Two.”

The Makin Waves Album of the Year for 2023, Jackson Pines’ “Pine Barrens Volume One,” is getting a sequel on July 13 with the eight-song “Volume Two.”

The LP’s first single, “Julie Jane,” is the Makin Waves Song of the Week.

As the Makin Waves Song of the Week, “Julie Jane” also can be heard between 6 and 8 p.m. on June 21 on “Radio Jersey” at If you miss it, you can tune in any time in the archives at The Penguin and Mixcloud.

“Our new single, ‘Julie Jane,’ is a reinterpretation and reharmonization of an old Pine Barrens murder ballad from the 1930s,” co-founding Jackson Pines singer-songwriter-guitarist Joe Makoviecki said. “Merce Ridgway Sr. wrote the song based on a story he heard as a boy in the 1910s. The Pine Hawkers played it in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and his son Merce Jr.'s band played it in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Oftentimes when we re-record one of these nearly 100-year-old Jersey folk songs, we stay true to the chords, the lyrics, and the melody, but in this case, we rewrote the chords, the rhythm, and a few of the lyrics to maximize the song's impact today. So it's in a different key for vocal impact, it's faster and in 4/4, not a waltz, so the story really rolls. And we added and deleted a line or two here or there, as is the folk tradition. The beauty is, since the ‘80s Pine Hawkers version still exists on the Angus Gillespie tape, we don't have to reproduce it exactly.

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“What we have now is not a modernization, because we didn't take the story into the 21st century, but a sonic refreshment that we hope makes the story and song as effective now as it was 90-some years ago when they first played it,” Joe continued. “The moral: talk about replacing your wife and see what happens.”

A free June 22 concert at Ghost Hawk Brewing Co. in Clifton will be the single release party. The show is in collaboration with comedian Chris Gethard's “New Jersey Is the World Podcast,” and will be a concert/listener meet-up.

On the same day as the April earthquake, Jackson Pines — also co-founding bassist James Black, drummer-mandolinist Cranston Dean, banjoist-flutist-mandolinist Max Carmichael and violinist James Herdman — gathered at James’ Boghouse studio in Jackson.

“The energy was high, and over the next two days, we tracked the whole album live,” Joe said. “James and I are super proud of the band and the way they learned this material faster than ‘Volume One,’ had less time to rehearse it, and turned in what I think is an even stronger performance than on the first volume. Not a lot of musicians are interested in this music. We're blessed that we've found a group of Jersey folk players who not only appreciate the music for what it is, but also believe in it and play it with heart and integrity as much as James and I do.”

“Pine Barrens Volume Two” also features such Pinelands musical treasury as  “Boghouse, 1936,” “Ocean County Blues,” “Ong's Hat,” “Clam Digger's Blues,” “Red Cedar,” “Dover Bog,” and “The Pine Barrens Song.”

On July 20, Jackson Pines will play “PBV2” for the first time live at Albert Music Hall, the folk and country venue Merce Ridgway Jr. founded and helped build in the Waretown section of Ocean Township. Both the band and the venue are the subject of a recent PBS documentary.

“We can't imagine a better place to premier the record,” Joe said.

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The official “PBV2” release concert date will be announced this summer.

Then the band will release an album of original songs called “Wheel” in the fall. The first three singles, “Wheel,” “Hammer,”and “Control Burn,” are already out.

In the meantime, Jackson Pines also will play Aug. 4, John & Peter's, New Hope; Aug. 16 to 18, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Schwenksville, Pa., and Aug. 29, Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, with Hunter Root.

For more, visit

Bob Makin has produced Makin Waves since 1988. Follow Makin Waves on Facebook and contact Bob at



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