Jaime Wyatt Impresses at AmericanaFest 2018
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.
September 18, 2018 @ 8:13 pm
Why did you not embed a song for the readers?
Saw her do Wasco on Carson Daly last week from some club. Nice sound.
September 18, 2018 @ 9:27 pm
I guess because this is a live review and I don’t have a good quality live video from the performance, it would feel like a bait and switch. It’s the streaming era. Folks can find their way to the music. Instead of doing long lists with short quips about the stuff I saw at AmericanaFest like most periodicals are doing and that ultimately do little for the artists, I decided to focus in on a few important performers that I believe it’s imperative don’t go overlooked.
September 18, 2018 @ 8:48 pm
I like her. And that first paragraph does well to honor good indipendent artists.
September 18, 2018 @ 9:09 pm
I saw her in Asheville this summer and she blew me away. I had never heard her before. Great performer.
September 18, 2018 @ 9:29 pm
I was lucky enough to catch that showcase. First time hearing her music, and I was impressed. She’s the real deal. And her young guitarist is also quite talented.
September 18, 2018 @ 10:06 pm
Is the album called Felony Blues?
September 18, 2018 @ 10:29 pm
September 18, 2018 @ 10:42 pm
Of all the great independent country albums released recently and reviewed here, Fellony Blues is my favourite. The songs are deeply personal but engaging and identifiable with and chock full of killer hooks. I’m really looking forward to her next collection of songs.
September 19, 2018 @ 7:28 am
That’s a great take on Felony Blues. I am hungry for more and am anxiously waiting to see her live.
September 19, 2018 @ 11:52 am
I agree, and you sum it up perfectly. It’s my favourite album. Play it every day.
I had to look up some of the lyrics, and it was well worth it,
” Someone take my heartbeat put it in a butterfly jar
Cast that net into the afternoon wind so I can’t go too far
Come on baby let’s break free, gonna get stoned in the afternoon
Down by the lake or the North Fork River so we don’t have to choose”
She also has a beautiful tone, lots of range, always right in tune, really interesting phrasing, and someone, maybe it’s Jaime, does excellent arrangements.
The playing and recording on Felony Blues is also outstanding.
One of the tunes from her performance at Americana fest is on youtube, on carson daly show channel.
Great review Trigger, thanks. I really hope she continues to succeed.
September 19, 2018 @ 11:54 am
think that’s “down by the bank of the North fork river” not what I typed.
September 19, 2018 @ 8:59 am
I have seen her twice in the past 3 months and she was great both times. Talk about outlaw country — while lots of guys in beards make it up, Jamie went to jail for hiring a gang member to beat up her drug dealer. Outlaw.
Seth of Lampasas
September 19, 2018 @ 10:33 am
No, that is not outlaw. That is stupid. If you get ripped off, chalk it to the game and find a different dealer.
September 19, 2018 @ 11:32 am
no….I’m pretty sure that qualifies as ‘outlaw’ , seth …….
Seth of Lampasas
September 19, 2018 @ 12:01 pm
Not in the the music biz. Outlaw is how you approach the craft, it’s not about being a flunky druggie.
Seth of Lampasas
September 19, 2018 @ 12:11 pm
And it’s not about fucking beards either. I was thinking the other night about someone needing to write a song along the lines of “to be clean shaven is to be outlaw” lol. Just because you have a beard or tattoos or you have the perfect “outlawish outfit” picked out every fucking day (ahem Sarah Shook) does not mean you are an out outlaw — YOU ARE A CARICATURE!!!
September 19, 2018 @ 12:23 pm
good points , all …..but for me ” outlaw” as a music thing is someone doing it THEIR way regardless of trend or potential mainstream appeal. playing it , saying it and performing it THEIR way . Sturgill qualifies ( not a fan …but )…so does Sarah Shook …BIGTIME , I think ….and so does Jaime Wyatt in that respect .
And also cuz she hired a hit man ‘ …not a ‘HIT’ man .
September 19, 2018 @ 11:21 am
Go CA! We have some amazing country acts in CA that totally go under t he radar because of the way CA is seen nowadays… despite what seems to be the largely forgotten now Bakersfield mark on the country map.
And I mean forgotten by people in CA. We don’t even know our own musical history outside hippies in SF and Glam Metal in LA. And hip-hop out of Compton.
September 19, 2018 @ 11:42 am
omg….just listened to a few of her videos …..
g-damn incredible voice and as country as it gets ……..
man what a voice ……..this is what I’m looking for in MY country music …jesus.. she is terrific
September 19, 2018 @ 8:34 pm
Felony Blues is my 2017 AOTY in retrospect. It’s very short for an LP, but every single song is amazing, and it plays great on repeat, too. My whole family sings along with every word.
My daughter even admitted that Jaime is her favorite country singer.