Often the individuals with a dogged determination to make it as a successful music performer don’t have the demons or real world grit that it takes to compel an audience with authentic stories. And often those with the demons and real world grit that it takes to compel an audience are too troubled to have the dogged determination or discipline it takes to be successful performer. It takes a rare breed to pursue country music through independent channels and find a level of sustainable success by honing both the poetic appeal present in the best of country, as well as the determination to see a commitment to the music through.
Jaime Wyatt is one of those rare breeds. As one of the most promising performers out of the often-overlooked Southern California country scene, she’s not afraid to talk about her felonious past, which includes an eight month stint in a California penitentiary for robbing her drug dealer. This isn’t fiction or embellishment. You can hear all about in her 2017 autobiographical record Felony Blues.
Jaime Wyatt arrived at her official 2018 Americanafest showcase at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville with a chip on her shoulder, something to prove, and her hair beehived darn near to Heaven. With Wyatt, the demons are not well in the past and buried, they’re laying just beneath the surface, constantly pursuant, just like they were for all the old country greats. Yet she has a determination to keep them in check and prove her worth to society, to country music, and to herself. This emotional concoction and daily tightrope walk results in a fire behind her eyes, and instills her musical performance with passion and wicked appeal.
Wyatt’s voice is both smoky, yet sharp when she calls upon a yodel, and carries the pain that every pair of country music ears yearns for. Signed by the formidable booking agency Red 11, she’s opened for Shooter Jennings, American Aquarium, Mike and the Moonpies, Charley Crockett, and others. Though you missed the steel guitar that was patently present on Felony Blues, the sound and performance at AmericanaFest was full and compelling, and most certainly country.
Beyond the words and twang the voice and music may carry, you just have a belief in what you’re seeing and hearing from Jaime Wyatt. This isn’t some delicate flower. This is a woman who’s lived through the worst to tell her tale, unafraid of shame or judgement, and hoping to spin her story toward one of redemption and victory. To break through the dearth of women in country, it’s going to take performers with guts and moxie who are unafraid to bear their souls. Jamie Wyatt fits the mold, while also comprising a completely original specimen all to herself.
While scanning the room for the next important artists in true country music in the coming years, it’s hard to not find your attention resting on Jaime Wyatt.