Photo Credit: Morgan Kennedy
By Aaron Wagner
If you’re the type of country music fan who is yearning for the good ole days where Hank, Willie, and Merle influenced the music that was being created then you’re in luck. Meet Amy Jack.
Amy Jack was raised by music teachers and then spent much of her early professional life as an Account Executive for iHeart Media and Cumulus, learning the intricacies of the radio business and to a larger extent, the music business.
When you listen to Amy’s music, you quickly hear that every lyric is purposeful and intentional. She’s not just singing for the sake of singing, she’s telling a story. And that’s what country music is all about.
Years back, Amy met Merle Haggard at one of his shows and struck up a friendship. As she tells Raised On It, that eventually led to him producing her debut album Introducing Amy Jack, before he passed away.
We chatted with Amy about her relationship with Merle and her debut project:
How did you and Merle originally connect and what was that relationship like?
We originally met during one of his shows in Norman, Oklahoma. I loved his shows and I went to several of them throughout the years. In 2013, I got a call from Merle’s sound director and he asked me if I wanted to record at Merle’s new studio and I was blown away by the opportunity.
Merle was such a huge influence on the album, he always had encouraging and constructive things to say about each song. I’m so glad I was able to work with him.
Which other artists influence the type of music you’d like to make?
Rita Coolidge, Diana Ross and Reba McEntire are all really inspiring women that I look up to. I also love Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Glen Campbell and Merle of course. They are all really influential in my music.
What did you learn from Merle during the process of creating this album?
I learned a lot throughout our friendship but gained the most knowledge while shaping my album. Merle was such a creative mind and a perfectionist. He always gave me the well thought out, intelligent advice.
I always felt like I was in good hands when we recorded. He never cut corners and was always dedicated to the art of music, whether it was his music or a friends’ he was dedicated to putting the best quality work out into the world.
Which 3-4 songs do you hold near and dear as the most important songs to record or perform?
“Got Lonely Too Early” is really special to me. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album, and I was so lucky to have been able to include it in my album. Merle really wanted me to record at least one of his songs, and I knew right away that I had to include this one.
It showcases Merle’s character and some of Merle’s band members made the track a one-of-a-kind. Don Markham, Merle’s saxophone player is featured on the track and Merle’s son, Benny Haggard, played guitar. Having such talented artists around me recording my album and pushing me to put my best work out there was really inspiring.
“Lay Me Down in Oklahoma” is also a song that is really near and dear to my heart. It’s so meaningful to me, growing up in Oklahoma. It reminds me of my childhood and growing my love for music.
What do you hope fans and listeners take away from listening to Introducing Amy Jack?
My main goal in writing is to connect with other people. I remember growing up, I would listen to a song or an album that made me feel so much joy and excitement for life and really built my love for music. I want to make people feel that same way that I did at that moment, to be completely immersed in the music and the moment, and to embrace and enjoy the present.