For the past year or so, a Jamie Wyatt t-shirt can be found on various music lovers in Los Angeles, and surprisingly, more than half of them are male. Wyatt has been playing with just about every noteworthy artist in town, including Shooter Jennings and Sam Outlaw, but it’s her unique songwriting that is pushing her past her peers and getting her mad respect. Rolling Stone Country called her one of the top ten artists to watch and Billboard recently wrote a feature story on her. LA Weekly stated “Jaime Wyatt is basically the 50 Cent of Outlaw Country,” and that is isn’t just a click bait headline. Wyatt is an outsider forging her own path, and has gained as many fans as one can possibly obtain outside of the Nashville machine.
While she sounds nothing like today’s country artists, Wyatt’s woeful voice is most reminiscent of Crystal Gayle, but her music is a hell of a lot more fun. She has been compared to Linda Ronstadt and while it’s a decent comparison, it still doesn’t quite capture Wyatt. She’s legit outlaw, with songs about prison life straight out of the time she actually served, and not just for the weekend. But that’s only part of her story.
Wyatt comes from a family of musicians who played barn dances to survive around Bakersfield. Both parents also wrote and sang their own tunes, eventually moving to Los Angeles to carve a career at it. Wyatt’s ease with music and her experience is heard in songs like “Wishing Well” and “Your Love Saves Me,” with rib-sticking lyrics supported by an upbeat tempo and twangy guitar. “From Outer Space” is a beckoning, hypnotic ballad with cosmic pedal steel by the highly sought-after John Schreffler, Jr. It is clear Wyatt was born for music and with her cross-over capability, let’s all hope she chooses to stay country, where she’s needed.
“Wasco” is one of her more outlaw songs and was written from the unique perspective only a woman can bring. It’s a heel stomping number about a girl waiting for her man to be released from prison and not caring what anyone thinks of their unity. The lyrics are so genuine there is no doubt Wyatt was a first hand witness to the story. “Stone Hotel,” will be one Wyatt will be remembered for. It makes listeners laugh, dance and sing all at the same time. The lyrics are telling of that magnetic person we all know, who is always in trouble with the law, but you can’t help but love them. Wyatt shows her knack for thrifty song writing and is genuinely gifted at making life’s lemons into lemonade. Her Merle Haggard version of “Whiskey and Gin” closes her album and it’s not only sublime, it’s heartbreaking. Wyatt effortlessly teaches us all how a tribute should sound.
Wyatt’s tour through the southern U.S. started last night in Nashville and also includes, Lubbock, Austin and Amarillo just to name a few. She will also be playing this summer in Las Vegas with Shooter Jennings. Check her website for dates and locations.