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Sounds Like: Vintage California country that's equal parts humor and humility, with a few middle fingers thrown in for good measure
For Fans of: Margo Price, Elizabeth Cook, outlaw country artists who have actually served time
Why You Should Pay Attention: Los Angeles country singer Jaime Wyatt has seen a thing or two after getting her first record deal at 17, she developed a drug problem, robbed her dealer and landed in the county jail for eight months. She never stopped writing, though, and her new album Felony Blues offers a fresh, thoughtful take on prison songs from someone who knows firsthand about being on the wrong side of the law.
She Says: I'm just stoked I'm not in jail or rehab right now. And I'm very proud of this record. It was easier to make this record than it was to live it ... Other folks have had it way harder than me as far as oppression and injustice, but I still had to do eight months in county for robbing a dealer, so I was pretty p*ssed. Still, if you have the attitude towards the court and the cops of 'You can't keep me down. I'm living it up on easy street here in jail, getting three free meals a day and a chauffeur to court. And thanks for getting my mail,' it sort of makes things easier.
Hear for Yourself: Stone Hotel is a rollicking indictment of The Man, delivered with Wyatt's smoky, unrepentant vocals. --New Country Artists You Need to Know; January 2017 - Rolling Stone by Brittney McKenna
A little bit of twang, some wild jazz fusion and a touch of introspective electronic music: Below, a few tips on forthcoming albums from Los Angeles-based artists scheduled to drop in the first quarter of 2017.
Jaime Wyatt, Felony Blues (Forty Below Records). The first track from the Los Angeles-based country singer and songwriter s forthcoming album, Felony Blues, is fueled by electric twang-rock that hints at a countrified Tom Petty and a hardened Lucinda Williams. That is, if either had spent time in prison as Wyatt has.
Don t make a mistake, I m a pirate, I m a thief from way back, Wyatt sings on Stone Hotel, about a drug-addicted past that, according to her press notes, prompted her arrest for robbing her dealer. Wyatt spent eight months in the clink, got three years felony probation and used that time writing songs with the goal of rebuilding her music career.
Like her avowed influence David Allan Coe, Wyatt sings from experience about her legal woes during the first single, Wishing Well. Bought my ticket for the rainbow but it just hasn't come through, she bemoans as a band featuring expert session players on loan from Ryan Adams, the Punch Brothers, Shooter Jennings and others rolls along gracefully. On Feb. 7, Wyatt and band will celebrate the Feb. 24 release of Felony Blues with a set at the Bootleg Theater.
--------------- --California Sounds: The outlaw twang of Jaime Wyatt; LA Times by Randall Roberts
Push play on this album and you ll be reminded of the first time you heard some of the iconic female voices of roots country pop/rock such as Linda Ronstadt, Sheryl Crow or Miranda Lambert. Jaime Wyatt may not have a career like those icons (yet) but opening track Wishing Well jumps out of the speakers with the same confidence and undeniable vocal self-assurance that immediately announces an impressive new talent. Given appropriate promotion, it s an obvious hit that ought to put Wyatt on the map. But there s more to her than one great track.
Although Wyatt has a handful of under-the-radar previous releases and eagle-eyed listeners may have noticed her on a few obscure soundtracks, this short disc serves as her debut to most. Don t let the somewhat polished production dissuade you from Wyatt s predominantly original songs or her ability to sing them with the force with which they were written. The disc s title refers to her eight-month stint in the clink and subsequent probation for committing a felony. It s also an indication of lyrics influenced by that prison stay such as those of Wasco about a fellow inmate ready to marry a virtual stranger as soon as she is released. On the other end of the lyrical spectrum is the bittersweet ballad From Outer Space where the protagonist feels like an adrift astronaut as Wyatt uses comets and radio waves to reflect her disconnect from a loved one.
She shifts to laid-back folk/country for the acoustic, stripped-down instrumentation of the reflective Giving Back The Best Of Me. Wyatt closes this too short seven-song set with Misery And Gin, a barroom weeper from Merle Haggard's catalog that captures the striking catch in her voice for lyrics such as memories and drinks don t mix too well ... looking at the world through the bottom of a glass. It s a poignant closer to a stirring introduction for this exciting newcomer with old soul. --Jaime Wyatt: Felony Blues Album Review - American Songwriter Magazine by Hal Horowitz
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And then there’s Jaime Wyatt, who spent eight months in a lockup in Ventura County, California for robbing her drug dealer, and managed to clean herself up. So much so that she managed to make it a big part of her 7-song debut EP FELONY BLUES.
Unique to say the least at having lived something of an outlaw existence and being a woman, Jaime nevertheless makes the most of making her experiences redemptive on this album. While professing to be heavily influenced musically by the notorious David Allan Coe (of “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” fame [also known as “The Perfect Country & Western Song”]), Jaime’s own voice is incredibly crystal clear given the abuse she inflicted on herself in the past; and it would not be too much of a surprise if her rootsy honky-tonk and rock-influenced C&W sound was influenced by, among others, the ultra-iconic Linda Ronstadt (as on the opening track “Wishing Well”), not to mention Sheryl Crow and Lucinda Williams. She closes off this short EP with Merle’s classic 1980 hit “Misery And Gin”, which was originally featured in the Clint Eastwood film BRONCO BILLY.
This is a short EP at just 30 minutes; but even if it were a full-length album of twelve songs in all, I can’t conceive of any scenario in which Jaime could ever get corporate country radio airplay. This says a lot more about the genuinely icky state of country radio vis-à-vis female artists, where just three women (Carrie Underwood; Miranda Lambert; Kelsea Ballerini) can get any airplay, and not always with their best stuff, than it does with Jaime’s unquestioned abilities, which lean far less in Nashville’s direction, and far more towards her own home state’s model of country, which is both traditional and progressive, from Merle and Buck Owens to Linda and the Eagles. This has been true with other such fringe artists like Tift Merritt, Caitlin Rose, Margo Price, and Kelsey Waldon; and it seems to be true with Jaime—maybe she’s far too good for her own good. But that’s Nashville’s loss and the alt-country/Americana world’s gain…not to mention that of the folks who get FELONY BLUES for their listening perusal.