Jaime Wyatt – Feel Good
When last we saw Jaime Wyatt, she was discussing her felonious past, publicly coming to terms with her sexuality, and exploring a fuller country sound on her 2020 album Neon Cross, In the three years since releasing that breakthrough record, she’s toured and recorded with artists as disparate as Dropkick Murphys and Avett Brothers. These experiences pushed Wyatt to pursue a more collaborative environment for her next album. Feel Good finds Wyatt exploring her biggest sound yet while soulfully exploring society’s biggest problems, while also detailing some of the most intimate moments of her life.
Feel Good begins with the buoyant, building “World Worth Keeping,” but the subject matter is as cautionary as it is hopeful. Backed by boisterous organ and a lush backing chorus, Wyatt sees the increasing dangers on our warming planet – “Mother Nature is raising her voice, by hurricane, fire and wind” – while hoping that the next generation will live at least as well as we do – “I’d like my children and yours to breathe, yeah/Maybe the poor folks, too.” “Fugitive” is also big-picture, but told through the individual stories of the oppressed. On one of the more twangy songs on the record, Wyatt addresses gun violence – “Do you feel better with your wishes and your prayers?/How ‘bout the families sitting next to empty chairs” – and unchecked police power – “‘Cause it wasn’t what he did and he didn’t resist/They pulled the trigger and they didn’t miss” – and suggests a counterintuitive solution – “You got one good life and a damn good reason to run” – that may be the only possible way of surviving.
Wyatt’s choice to be bigger (bringing on Adrian Quesada of Black Pumas to produce a richer, more soulful sound) and embrace collaboration (working with more musicians and songwriters than in the past) doesn’t take away one bit from the intimacy of the more personal material on Feel Good. “Love Is a Place” finds her using queer-indicative pronouns for the first time – “I took the same turn too many times/She told me I could be more than a good time” – but the bouncy, brassy tune is really about how the right love – of any stripe – can change your world: “Love is a place I’ve never known/I’d like to go, and would you take me there?” Wyatt also shares a particularly personal moment in her cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Althea,” her own triple guitar-filled take on a song from her father’s favorite band (Dad was a friend of Bob Weir, and playing Dead songs serves as a connection to her late father). But it’s the big sound of “Back to the Country” that serves as the best example of Wyatt’s combination of openness and intimacy. The tune calls back the singer’s own slip-ups – “Sixteen months in detention/By god, it’s been a long long time” – but it’s more a celebration of nostalgia and country life shared during a roadie with a friend who died shortly after the trip. What could be maudlin instead comes off as a joyful requiem of sorts – missing friends and days gone by, but also appreciative of those people and moments – “Little ponies there to ride/Back to the country one more time.” Like in music, it’s collaborations in life that create memories.
Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Back To The Country” – Tipping off with cool bass line before mixing in rollicking organ climaxing in a guitar/piano trade-off, it’s a celebration of what makes Wyatt “feel good,” with just a little bit of shade – “Yes, I have met the devil/And he talks a lot about you” – to keep the whole affair grounded.
Feel Good was produced by Adrian Quesada, recorded by Aaron Glemboski, mixed by Quesada and Glemboski and mastered by Pete Lyman. Musicians on the album include Wyatt (vocals, guitar), Quesada (guitar), Joshy Soul (keys, piano, organ), Ryan Smith (guitar), Scott Davis (bass), Will Rockwell (drums), Alexis Buffum (strings), Caroline Trowbridge (vibes), Kyle Egart (drums), Josh Strauther (keys), Jaron Marshall (organ), Brian Donohoe (string arrangement), John Speice (percussion), Butch Walker (vocals), Geoff Queen (pedal steel) and Spice-India Reynolds, Roy Patten and Angela Miller (background vocals).
Go here to order Feel Good (out November 3): https://newwestrecords.com/collections/jaime-wyatt-feel-good
Check out tour dates here: https://www.jaimewyatt.com/tour
Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Jaime Wyatt’s “Neon Cross” is Rockers Looking Back on Battles