Whilst the west coast energy and charisma onstage combined with her distinct vocal prowess are something you are instantly drawn in by and will never forget, it was her 2020 sophomore record ‘Neon Cross’ that Jaime Wyatt got people really taking note on a wider scale. A regular visitor to the United Kingdom, which last saw shows over here in June around an appearance at Black Deer Festival and recently a long overdue debutant at the Grand Ole Opry, Wyatt has recently shared the next chapter of her musical journey. Released on November 3rd via New West Records and recorded with Black Pumas’ Adrian Quesada, Wyatt’s third studio album ‘Feel Good’ is a captivating journey that pushes her sound to new sonic and emotional heights, while blurring the lines between classic roots, southern soul, and vintage R&B. After an all too brief first encounter back in January at The Dukes Head in Highgate, Jaime and our own Jamie recently got to hang out properly over Zoom following the release of the album to catchup and hear all about it.
Hey Jaime, good to see you. “Wait, we’re both Jaime’s!”
As if one of us isn’t bad enough but we spell it slightly differently ha ha. I’m pretty sure we did exactly the same thing we briefly met in January up in Highgate. “Oh yeah, at The Dukes Head.”
Yes indeed, our mutual friend Pete introduced us and brought two Jamie/Jaime’s together. It was packed that day which was really cool and I spent quite a lot of time up there even if I am worried about what happens to my liver because Sinéad makes the best margarita’s that anyone will ever find. “Ah margarita’s, so you’re a tequila boy then?
It is one of my vices but I love that place and since you were there, they have started doing food too. “Oh, they have food now. That’s awesome!”
Yeah and it’s really good! It’s not them doing it but they have a company called Rack City Ribs that are based there too and it’s all barbeque which is amazing, easily the best I’ve had in town, so you get loads of people that go in there for food. The pub is doing really well as they’re open seven days a week now and have even more live music there which is awesome. It’s busy and with where it is in Highgate, people go out of their way and choose to go there because it’s between two tube stations in the middle of a hill. I’ve been listening to you for a while but that was the first time that I actually saw you play, I have seen you since because I saw you at Black Deer in the summer too. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to hang this morning. “No thank you, it’s my pleasure.” As we’ve been talking about The Dukes, how did you first meet them up there? How did they manage to get you to pack out that bar in Highgate on a Saturday afternoon? “At first it was on Instagram but they’ve been supporting my records and playing my music in the bar for the last couple of years. Sinéad is so amazing and several times she had kept messaging me saying come and do a pop-up or a set here. Then I said I think I can do a pop-up as I had a couple of gigs here and there because at the time I was on the road with Dropkick Murphys, singing with them in arenas but yeah, I first got acquainted with them at the bar on the internet through Instagram. We did the pop-up show where it was so packed and I could really feel the love. The people were so stoked and it was an amazing feeling for me.”
Well, you will definitely have to head back now they are doing food there to try it out plus if you come back to town and don’t catch up with those guys, you know that Sinéad won’t forgive you. “Oh, I can never go to England now and not call Sinéad. I really don’t think that would be allowed to happen evert again ha ha. I love her so much, she is such an angel.” You mentioned you were over here with Dropkick Murphys when that came about, I know you have recorded with those guys and played shows with them too because the London show was at Wembley Arena. How did you start working with Ken (Casey) and the Jaime Wyatt/Dropkick Murphys collaborating came to life? “A friend of mine in LA hit me up and said that they were looking for an opening act and that he had put my name in the hat so they sort of picked me. Ken Casey calls me on FaceTime to formally invite me, he’s a class act and at the time he was celebrating another sober year because he is sober too. They are really lovely, they took me out in the US last December and then they invited me to Europe to sing with them in England and in Ireland, my dad’s side of the family are Irish so I was really excited to go over to Ireland too. Then of course any excuse to get back to England, I’m always there. When I came back through in June to do a couple of headline shows at the Black Deer Festival which was amazing but a major festival in Sweden got cancelled and everyone on my team were like you really shouldn’t go over to Europe if you’re not doing the Sweden gig but I said I have to go! I just have to go to England, it’s a place I go and I will go there consistently for the rest of my life so, I went even though it wasn’t as financially sound. I mean it was ok but it wasn’t you know, super sound.”
That is always the thing where fans over here and in Europe will be messaging you and want people to come and tour but there is a big financial element to it and you need something that pays the bills. Knowing that there wasn’t that focal point when you came back in the summer, there obviously is something more to it that keeps that desire to come back whether that is the audiences or you guys apparently think we are nice people here but I live in London, so am not too sure about that one ha ha. “I know what you mean when you’re in the big city but I do think the English people are really lovely. People there listen at the shows and for whatever reason it just feels like my music or my songs are resonating there and I go where the love is. No matter an ocean between I need to keep going there because I think we are going to do some fun things in England through the rest of my career and I want everyone to come along for it.” So, I’m guessing that even if it is not locked in yet, your passport is likely to get another UK stamp in it at some point in 2024. “YES! I am looking towards the end of the year or that is what we are talking about right now. The next couple of years for me are a lot about community as themes that are coming up in my journaling and things like that, I was always a pretty solo guy for most of my life but now it is about community and connecting.”
Talking about community, you are based in Nashville now but in the grand scheme of your career, you were quite late compared to most artists in terms of moving to music city. A lot of people that come into country music are just straight away set on getting there as quickly as possible where as you grafted outside of town and put a couple of records out when you were on the west coast before deciding to head to Tennessee. “That’s true, I moved to Nashville right before ‘Neon Cross’ came out so could have moved here around the first album came out but I’ve always had family in LA and I still do now. I was busy sleeping on couches that I knew I could sleep on and it took me a while to find some couches here in Nashville but now I have my own couch ha ha. Music is tricky to make it a life.”
Things are well there I guess as you have your own couch and we’ve had an album since ‘Neon Cross’ which we will move on to in a minute but I saw that you recently got to play the Opry for the first time, which everyone talks about as an important and memorable step of recognition of artists in town. It’s like it validates all the effort that an artist puts in and unlike streams, metrics and numbers that tell you how you are doing, standing in the circle for the first time has that physical reflection. “Yeah I made my Opry debut and absolutely, that’s a really good point that it is a tangible place. The Grand Ole Opry has been around for years and years, was broadcast on the radio where it’s reach has been massive and getting to people way out in the country. It’s old school, it’s radio and on stage so it was really cool, very validating as a songwriter, not just as a singer but as a songwriter in Nashville, where songwriting is the go to craft. It felt very special and really honoured to be asked to do it. It was a trip, I was nervous but it went well and I had my friend Butch Walker come sing with me which was really cool.” Coming on to talk about ‘Feel Good’ and we talked about being based in Nashville now then Adrian (Quesada) was heavily involved with how it sounds but when you listen to it, it really keeps the west coast vibe and that part of you. I hear that a lot in the music and California has a sound if you know what I mean but I feel you really retain that vibe and that comes through plus you throw in a guy that does wonders with Black Pumas to sprinkle his magic all over it to get this really cool sound. “Right on. Thank you, it’s cool that you said you feel the west coast sound, that’s good. That’s good because when I was considering who would produce the record and where it would be made, a concern of mine was that I didn’t want to lose that edge that I feel like I maintain of the sound being country songs but it’s like hip and edgy production. I didn’t know that it would be in Austin with Adrian Quesada, it just came up that when I was writing these songs and seeing that they had more soul in them and a totally different vibe. I am still meeting folks in Nashville and I know there is soul music here but I’m just not acquainted yet and where everyone is super country here, I was like I think I’ve got to go and do it elsewhere.”
Was that something that was in the back of your mind with like a wariness of making records now you are living in Nashville? Country music made in town tends to have a more polished sound compared to other places where people could potentially lose that edge and ‘Feel Good’ likely would have sounded very different if you had cut it there as opposed to in Austin where you did record it or even back out in California. “Yes there definitely is a thing about some Nashville records and that’s really beautiful, I love a lot of different kinds of music but for my music and my sound, I don’t want it polished as much. I mean I want polished in certain settings but it’s just not my sound.”
This has been fun, thank you so much for Jamie meets Jaime round two! “Yes! It’s good to meet you again and chat properly.”
I know, it’s really cool and next time you’re here, we can have a proper catch up in person where you aren’t rushing to get on stage.” “Yeah, a proper catchup sounds great and would love that!”
Feel Good Tracklist: World Worth Keeping Feel Good Back To The Country Love Is A Place Hold Me One Last Time Where The Damned Only Go Althea Fugitive Jukebox Holiday Ain’t Enough Whiskey Moonlighter The new album ‘Feel Good’ from Jaime Wyatt is out now through New West Records and available HERE. You can find full details of her 2024 US tour on her WEBSITE and keep up to date with everything that she is up to on INSTAGRAMTWITTER & FACEBOOK.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks