Years from now, I’m going to have a very awkward conversation with my kids when they ask, “Daddy, what was MySpace?” I will explain the concept of pimping pages, choosing your Top 8, justifying your existence by number of profile views, and why everyone was friends with a guy named Tom. Most importantly, I will tell them that MySpace is the magical land where one very lucky young man realized the ultimate rock and roll fantasy…

One day, this lanky lad sent a MySpace message to a beautiful rock star — and much to his surprise, her publicist, intern, some creepy kid in Iowa posing as her SHE replied. Wait, there’s more. She came to his gig. It gets even better — they formed a band and made an album together! OK, by now you think I’m spinning a very tall tale, but this legend gets infinitely more super awesome. This super hot vixen kissed him for hours and hours, take after take, making this freakin’ incredible homage to Bonnie & Clyde:

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The boy is musician is James Levy. He was in an anti-folk band, the spectacularly under-monikered LEVY. I picture their fans as the lights go out shouting “LEVY! LEVY! LEVY!” Granted, LEVY would have been much cooler if it also included Jane Levy from Suburgatory or comedian Dan Levy, but I digress.

The girl is Allison Pierce of the similarly creatively titled folk/pop duo The Pierces. These girls from Alabama, circa New York, made it huge in Europe and should be much bigger here. They had some sexy hits with “Boring” and “Secret” from their third album, but their 4th platter, You & I (released in the US earlier this year), is their glorious artistic breakthrough.

Now bear with me, our fable is about to enter a very dark and confusing forest…

James Levy recorded a song called “Glorious” under the name LEVY and then later released an album called Blood Red Rose under the name James Levy. The Pierces covered LEVY’s “Glorious” on their You & I album, produced by Guy Berryman of Coldplay. Berryman took a shine to James Levy and signed on to produce James Levy’s next album. Allison joined James Levy and their duo was named James Levy and the Blood Red Rose — a move which was in no way intended to confuse the living hell out of Google and any Googler since Allison does not appear anywhere on the James Levy album Blood Red Rose. The new album by James Levy AND the Blood Red Rose was called Pray to Be Free — it came out in February in the UK to rave reviews. One of the album’s highlights, “Holy Water” can also be found in a different form on the album Blood Red Rose which at this point is so damn mind boggling I would just bash my face in had I not found their beautiful music so soothing.

Pray to Be Free came out in the States in October. I wanted to do a pre-release interview and attempted to reach their US management through their lovely UK publicist but never heard back from anyone Stateside — I was sad, but still hopeful I can interview James Levy and/or the Blood Red Rose someday. Thankfully, I found a very entertaining interview from Europe that fills in most of the gaps for me.

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The lovely, haunting, exquisitely beautiful album, Pray to Be Free by James Levy and the Blood Red Rose will likely end up in my year-end Top 10. If you like Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra, Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot or even Morrissey/Marr, you will be enthralled with its lush, dark tales — each one as fascinating as that of the album’s origin.

Pray to be Free by James Levy and the Blood Red Rose and Blood Red Rose by James Levy are currently available on Amazon.

MySpace is surprisingly still online because Justin Timberlake picked it up at a garage sale.




About the Author

Keith Creighton

Keith is a music correspondent for Popdose and an advocate on women's empowerment, gender identity and gender liberation issues. He is a monthly new music contributor to the Planet LP Podcast and is a marketing writer by day for Sudden Monkey.

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