Jaime Wyatt’s newest release Felony Blues, whose title is a nod to records like David Allan Coe’s Penitentiary Blue, is largel an autobiographical collection of convict love stories, prison songs, and honky-tonk laments.
Wyatt is a striking figure with an old soul and a voice like a force of nature. Regardless of genre, the Los Angeles-based Wyatt is a dynamic performer, who sails naturally between vintage ‘60s and ‘70s country/rock ’n’ soul anthems and heartfelt country ballads of love and corruption. Country radio station 95.3 The Bear recently named her, alongside Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price, as “one of the country artists you may not have heard of, but need to hear.”
Wyatt got a record deal at the age of 17, with multiple soundtracks and movie placements, but after a second deal went down the tubes, she developed a drug problem.
She got busted for robbing her dealer and took a plea deal for eight months in jail, a felony strike, six months of treatment and three years felony probation. “I stayed out of trouble most the time in jail, by singing songs for people and making them laugh,” says Wyatt.
After she served her term, Wyatt, become enthralled with the music of Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash - who had similar struggles with the law and substance abuse. She studied country music and toured in folk and country bands up and down the West Coast.
“I met the hit songwriter John Durrill, who recommended I cover “Misery and Gin,” a song he wrote for Merle Haggard in 1979. A dear friend and supporter gifted Jaime with a session at East West Studios in Hollywood, CA, to record with producer, Mike Clink (Guns N’Roses), and this track closes the record.
“For the rest of the record, I tracked in between constant touring, whenever I had a dime or a guitar to trade for recording time at my bass player, Drew Allsbrook’s studio in Van Nuys. I joked about calling the album Nickel and Dimin’ for this reason.”
After completing the record and looking for a label, Wyatt met Forty Below Records head, producer Eric Corne (John Mayall, Walter Trout). Corne fell in love with the songs and agreed to remix the record and release via Forty Below Records.
The musicians on the record include top notch Americana and country pickers John Schreffler Jr and Ted Russell Kamp from Shooter Jennings band; Gabe Witcher of the Punch Brothers on fiddle; fellow Angelino country songwriter Sam Outlaw (who features on the duet “Your Loving Saves Me”); and long time friend and drummer Freddy Bokkenheuser, now the touring drummer for Ryan Adams.