North Texas singer-songwriter Amy Jack recently released her debut album, Introducing Amy Jack, which was produced by GRAMMY-Award winning artist and country music icon Merle Haggard. Introducing Amy Jack was one of the last projects Haggard worked on before his passing in 2016. Jack shares in her bio, “Merle taught me the value in being honest.” The album includes a cover of Haggard’s “Got Lonely Too Early.”
If you watched the 2016 Olympics “Road to Rio” Tour or saw Fox Sports and ESPN Network’s intro feature for the 2016 March Madness Mavericks and Lakers game featuring Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzky, you heard Jack’s song “For The Love Of The Game.” In addition, with a background in the TV and radio side of the business (having worked with iHeart Media and Cumulus), Jack has the inside knowledge on music placement, landing spots on several iHeartMedia stations.
Jack shares with us her inspiration for Introducing Amy Jack and working with the legendary Merle Haggard.
You recently released your debut album, Introducing Amy Jack. Tell us about the inspiration behind the music and the songwriting process.
To set the tone, Merle asked if I wanted to record one of his songs, so I upped the ante and said I’d record two. I knew that I wanted to include an uptempo track, so when I heard “Got Lonely Too Early” I knew I didn’t need to look any further, I had found the right song for the album. Merle’s sax player Don Markham also stepped in to help during the recording process and played on the song, which was such a special moment. I draw from a lot of experiences when I’m writing songs. For example, “Got A Life To Catch” was about someone in Nashville who was stringing me along. Once I find the inspiration from an idea or concept, I come up with a title, then the hook, and then my cowriters, and I write the rest.
Working with the legendary Merle Haggard before his passing on this debut album, how did that collaboration come about?
I got a call from Merle’s sound guy who asked if I would like to record in Merle’s new studio, and I said, “How soon?” The rest was history after that phone call.
Share with us about the recording process.
At first, we recorded “Got Lonely Too Early” and “My Favorite Memory.” Merle preferred to record with a live band, so that’s exactly what we did for this album. The musicians involved are renowned and pulled out all of the stops while recording. It was such an amazing experience to be involved in.
What’s the biggest lesson learned from that journey?
Coming from a family of music teachers, what was life like for you as a child, and when did you decide to pursue a career in music?
When I was seven, they picked me up and placed me on the piano bench and told me, “You are going to learn to play the piano,” so that’s what I started with. My sister was my teacher back then, and she was gifted with perfect pitch, which is about one in a hundred thousand. She taught me a lot, and I’m very grateful that I had her as my teacher. I didn’t think of a career until I met Merle, and then I knew I just had to pursue it.
Who were some of your early musical influences that helped shape the artist you are today?
Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Glen Campbell, Diana Ross. There are just so many incredible artists that have influenced my music.
What artists are you listening to today?
Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Midland—there’s so much good music out these days.
With a degree from the University of Oklahoma in TV/Radio/Film, your experience working in the radio industry, along with your experience as a recording artist, what is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
If you find what your strengths are, you can take root and bloom in life like a flower. You must always listen to your inner judgment and not be drowned out by negativity. If you’re honest, fair with people, creative and resourceful, you can blaze your own trail.
Introducing Amy Jack tracklist:
1 Big Boy Up
2 Got Lonely Too Early | Composed By – Merle Haggard
3 Got A Life To Catch
4 Jack Of All Trades
5 My Favorite Memory | Composed By – Merle Haggard
7 Walkin’ Around Money
8 Game Day
9 Game On
10 If Not For Friends
11 It’s Up To You, Baby
12 Lay Me Down In Oklahoma
13 Shake and Bake