More than a solo project but not exactly a band, the Content Providers came into being when former X-tal singer/guitarist and Ear Candle Productions founder J Neo Marvin found himself overflowing with new songs that needed to be heard. As a massive cast of friends and acquaintances flew in and out of a loose revolving-door lineup, many gigs were performed through the Bay Area and much drama and comedy ensued. And music, always music. J Neo Marvin’s new songs were pulled from rough experience and sharp observation, as each Content Provider added something unique and unpredictable to the whole stew.
The first installment, Slowly I Turned, confronts the self, traveling through grief, recovery, defiance, and healing:
The second Content Providers album, What Is Truth?, rubs its eyes and looks around at old and new friends and loves, and asks the difficult questions about what works, what doesn’t, and what’s next. While these songs were being written, a small group of sociopaths pulled off a wild, shocking stunt that succeeded in making America stupider for many years. Some lyrics had to be rewritten to stay relevant.
The third missive from the Content Providers, Freedom Fried, is what happens when personal catharsis is complete, true love is found, and our protagonist is able to look out at the world at large. He is not happy with what he sees. If you thought there was a woeful lack of good protest music in 2004, you may have missed this one when it first came around. It still holds up today.