Jackie Marshall, or the Peppercorn Queen as she is alternatively known, has experienced all aspects of the musician life. From composing music for Slovenian puppet theatre to rocking out on stage at the Chicken Shop in Ocean Grove, there are many facets and tales to tell from her illustrious career thus far. Having released two full-length albums under her name already, Marshall has just brought out a new EP, the subject matter of which was partially inspired by political activism.
A side project that was born out of a friendship with Lee Ivan from the cult country rock group The Remains, there are a lot of different flavours and sounds that have a broad appeal to them throughout each of the tracks on this release. “We decided to record a really bent country and rock and roll album, yet that seemed to take a lot more time than we had initially planned for, so we decided to put out an EP instead. It’s a lot of money to put out a full album and so we have saved some costs and some material for further releases.”
This latest project from Marshall was born out of playing a lot of shows alongside The Remains. Ivan right from the beginning expressed interest in helping Marshall with the follow-up to 2010’s Ladies’ Luck which saw a collaboration form between the two and quickly broke the mould of producer/artist. “The Peppercorn Queen and the Fat Lamb was a name that came naturally to us. Lee is based in Tamworth and his band there is called the Fat Lambs, and I was crowned the Peppercorn Queen at an outback country music festival. It’s fair enough to say that it got pretty wild out there, and I could relate the best tour story, but what goes on tour, stays on tour.”
Self-taught on the guitar and learning from Bob Dylan charts, it wasn’t long until Marshall became inspired by the likes of Jack Kérouac and Hunter S. Thompson. From listening to her discography, you are easily able to hear where these troubadour and travelling influences have come into play. “My nextdoor neighbour’s parents wanted their daughter to learn how to play guitar, but she didn’t give a rat’s arse about it. I ended up acquiring all these song charts and quickly learnt ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’. The lyrics to that song and a lot of Dylan’s work blew my mind. Picking up the guitar was like discovering the wardrobe in Narnia. It was the catalyst for my musical beginnings.”
Having travelled around a lot in her early years, Marshall found herself playing around political blockades and activism events in Slovenia, which led to composing the music for puppet shows. “The puppet show was all about animals in a zoo and teaching children things like why the elephant drinks from the watering hole. The language barrier was difficult at first, but then I started to write a lot of catchy melodies.”
These experiences have given Marshall the ability to draft a children’s book of her own about the different faces of the moon, and it may be a while before we see that take full shape. In the meantime, head out to her regional shows to hear the new material and maybe even a Slovenian puppet song.
When&Where: The Bridge, Castlemaine – July 17 &The Main Bar, Ballarat – July 18
Written by Tex Miller