It’s been a good year for Jami Lynn. With high honors in the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival’s Songwriting Showcase Finals, new album “Fall is a Good Time to Die” named to The Telegraph’s top country albums of 2015 (next to Willie Nelson, The Punch Brothers, and Dar Williams), and critics proclaiming her “5 out of 5 stars, essential listening” (Empty Bottles and Broken Souls), it’s been a good year. But this year is not only the culmination of hard work and good luck, but the fruition and maturing of two musical passions-of writing and performing.
Hailing from the Great Plains of eastern South Dakota, Jami began performing folk and bluegrass music at the age of thirteen. It took little coaxing from her grandfather to make the transition from the audience to the stage, where old-time country, polka, and regional folk music reigned supreme. At the age of sixteen, Jami began accompanying herself on guitar and writing her own music. After high school, Jami Lynn attended the University of South Dakota majoring in Vocal Performance. Though it was clear that opera was not in her cards, Jami stuck with music, spending a semester at Tennessee State University in Nashville to study Commercial Music and immerse herself in the singer/songwriter scene. While the experience honed her performance and songwriting skills, it also heightened Jami’s awareness of her deep connection to the landscape and culture of the Upper Midwest.
Upon returning to finish college in South Dakota, Jami Lynn began work on her senior thesis, “Early American Folk Music of the Upper Midwest.” What began as a typical slap-it-together-and-call-it -good thesis turned into an intensive year of research resulting in academic presentations in museums, libraries, and historical societies, and most importantly, the recording of Sodbusters, her first full length solo album. Inspired by stories of her ancestors trek from the East coast to the Dakota Territory, the title track of Sodbusters offers the perspective of Jami Lynn’s great-great grandmother, Lydia Huff. In addition to six original songs, the album features five folk songs from the South Dakota area. A lumbering ballad from the forests of Minnesota, a Norwegian lullaby, an Irish folk tune, and a cowboy ballad from the open range compliment her own artfully crafted folk songs. Sodbusters not only caught the attention of international critics in France and the Netherlands, but was included in the Smithsonian's Shared Harmonies Project.
"Fall Is A Good Time To Die" is the first album of Lynn's comprised entirely of original songs, self-produced alongside her band, Dalton Coffey (dobro, mandolin) and Andrew Reinartz (bass). Lynn’s voice is reminiscent of Anaïs Mitchell’s, with a darker, wilder quality all her own, as if she were born to project her voice across the plains. With the power and dynamic of My Brightest Diamond, Lynn’s voice is complimented by her deceptively creative melodies. When not performing for public audiences Lynn also brings folk music to elementary students and hospital systems through the South Dakota State Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools program and Touring Artists program. She's also shared the stage with legendary folk singer Spider John Koerner, Gillian Welch, The Wood Brothers, Jolie Holland, Mason Jennings, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr, Chatham County Line, The Pines, Special Consensus, and claw-grass great Mark Johnson. Jami is currently based out of Spearfish, SD.
J: What is the story behind your song "Wolf"?
J: I totally relate to your experience of being surrounded by "seasoned musicians." I call them my "bread and butter." If you could open a set for anyone, who would it be?
J: I couldn't have said it better myself...so I won't. Are you planning to release any new music soon?
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