Jessie Farrell: Love Letter
The 2008 CCMA Female Artist of the Year/Rising Star/Top New Female Talent of the Year has stepped up her game for her third and most distinguished country album, the forthcoming Love Letter.
The woman who gave us top hits such as “Let’s Talk About Love”, “Fell Right Into You”, “I Guess,” “Best Of Me,” “You Make Me Feel” and “Nobody Says No,” continues to mature her artistry at an impressive and distinctive pace.
The Juno-winning Jessie Farrell (for her vocal contribution to the 2010 all-star charity Single of the Year “Wavin’ Flag”) has turned a creative corner in her career – by retreating into herself for some much-needed introspection.
“I hear every word you say/ But it doesn’t mean I’m listening,” Farrell sings on the hypnotically stunning first single, “Turn You Down,” now airing with an equally captivating Margaret Malandruccolo-directed video on CMT Canada.
“You used to come in loud and clear/ Now I’m far away and you’re whispering.
Stop stepping on my heels/Standing on my cape/ You’re weighing me down.
Baby I can’t turn you off/But I can turn you down.”
Co-produced and co-written – as are the remaining nine songs of Love Letter, with her longtime guitarist Jesse Tucker – “Turn You Down” is an intoxicatingly powerful climate of disillusion and disappointment, the mood set by layers of stinging acoustic and electric guitar and Farrell’s reprimanding tone of resentment, as a sacred trust between two close friends seems to have been irreparably broken.
Yet the empowering sentiment of defiance, independence and survival despite the former friend’s repression is as real as it gets.
“On Love Letter, there are a lot of songs about relationships,” says Farrell. “They’re not just about love connections, but all kinds of interactions between people and the challenges everyone goes through in life.
“Connecting with others is one of the most important and complicated parts of being here, so I constantly find inspiration in looking at relationships and talking to people.”
Country music is all about the truth, and on Love Letter and songs like “Sunny Days,” “Catch Me,” “Fall,” “Making Ends Meet,” “Filthy Habits” and “Love Letter,” Jessie Farrell bares her heart and soul like never before.
“This is the most intimate album I’ve ever done,” Farrell confesses.
“I wanted to keep it real and keep it contemplative. I just wanted to do exactly what felt right.”
What felt right to Farrell was paring down the melodies and keeping it simple, and at times, stark: “Fall” is a declaration of devotion, confidence and vulnerability, framed by an acoustic guitar and Jessie’s heartfelt and charismatic voice; a life philosophy that could pertain to romance as much as life; “Filthy Habits” is an earthy, get-back-to-nature mode lifestyle song; “Sunny Days” is fun, upbeat optimism about one’s positive mindset, and “Love Letter”…well, you can take a guess about that one.
“I took pieces of my own little world and inserted it into those songs.” Farrell declares, “But as much as these songs are about me, I try to keep them open-ended so others can relate to them and interpret their own meaningful connection.”
She’s also the first to admit that these songs wouldn’t have taken this shape or form had she not taken a breather after seven years of whirlwind activity.
Stepping off the album-tour-album-tour treadmill -- both as headliner and sharing the stage with the likes of Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Doc Walker, Johnny Reid, Gord Bamford, Aaron Pritchett and Emerson Drive -- allowed her to pause, reflect and refresh.
“I’ve been so focused and so driven for so long, that it was refreshing just to live normal life for awhile,” Farrell explains. “I got to not only catch up with friends, but I could bring them flowers, make them a meal, just be there for them.
“It’s been really enjoyable for me to reconnect and serve as their cheerleader.”
Farrell also slowed down her own life by fulfilling a lifelong dream and moving to Vancouver Island, where the pace of things was quieter, and more relaxed.
“Being so busy, the Island has allowed me to properly recharge and hear myself think when I began writing for the album,” Farrell explains. “These songs reflect the clarity that comes from living in such a beautiful place.”
As a result, the lack of stress and pressure resulted in some very organic inspiration.
“I was just able to write music that felt unhurried,” says Farrell, who recorded Love Letter at Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios with engineer Dean Maher (Michael Bublé, Hedley, Aaron Pritchett).
Now that she’s rediscovered her life balance and displays a seasoned confidence, a refreshed Jessie Farrell is ready to resume and reward the performer within.
“I want to take my fans on an emotional Roller Coaster ride,” says Farrell. “I’m excited to share this new music with them and make a connection.”
More than ever before, Love Letter is that connection, the next chapter in the continuing evolution of Jessie Farrell, singer-songwriter extraordinaire.