Sultry, raw, and influenced by blues and country, Joanna Levine’s voice is distinctive and incredibly powerful. With bass player and husband, Rob Pawlings, the Ridgewood couple performs and records under the name Pinkwing. Along with folk, soul, and blues, they include the genre americanadiana on their Facebook page, “cause we play Americana but I’m Canadian…it’s a hybrid,” Levine jokes.
Levine started Pinkwing as a solo project after her previous band, the Collectors, ended. The name refers to “the flying pig tattoo that lives on my back,” she says. It is in reference to Pigasus, the symbol John Steinbeck used to stamp on his essays and letters with the Latin phrase “ad astra per alia porci” meaning “to the stars on the wings of a pig.” “I thought it was a good symbol/reminder to be brave,” Levine notes. Her first album under the moniker shares the Latin phrase. Ad Astra Per Alia Porci came out in 2008, followed by Restless in 2011.
“[Pinkwing] really took on a lot more momentum when Rob joined me on bass and we started playing together and recording more regularly,” she shares of Pawlings who completed the duo in 2012. Honey & Salt is their first recording together. During the release show, Pinkwing will perform “all of the EP plus a few others, and a certain favorite cover.”
The five songs on the EP include:
“The Reverend Robert Pawlings” (honey) – I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory…” Levine laughs. She wrote the song for Pawlings, “every word of which is true, he is absolutely kind, crazy-hard-working, generous-of -spirit, and accepting to a sort-of unbelievable degree.”
“The coolest part of recording and performing this song for the first time, a surprise for Rob at our wedding last summer with all his friends secretly ready to sing the chorus, was the sense that they all felt that love too and knew exactly where the lyrics were coming from. I was able to put a voice to something they’ve all felt for a long time.”
“Yours for the Taking” (honey) – Cause you deserve that love / That you’ve been chasing / And you never give up / Now it’s yours for the taking. The song was a gift to Levine’s brother, Dave, and “his amazing wife Reilly,” for their wedding.
“Prettiest Pictures” (salt) – A “fantasy that never really happened,” it’s about “a relationship that almost, but never really was. Wanting to believe in an idyllic future with someone, but not really having enough evidence or history with the person to believe in it.” And how long does it take till we learn / That none of that shit really matters at all.
“All Night” (honey) – For a short time last year, Levine joined a weekly songwriting club which was helpful motivation. This song initially began from that, but became about Levine’s and Pawlings’s wedding.
Pinkwing’s release show will also feature the Nightmare River Band, Shadwick Wilde and the Quiet Hollers, and the Thang. Per the event listing, “tell your friends and bring your party pants and dancing shoes. and a little lipstick. on your booty.”
Pinkwing at Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan St, Bushwick. Friday 9 p.m.