In this Creator Conversation, I talk with country singer/songwriter, Amy Jack, about her debut album. Amy also shares a favorite Oklahoma memory, how to keep positive, and places she enjoys performing in the state.
How do you describe yourself and your music?
Growing up, my mother was my voice teacher and I’d like to say I have a smooth and complete voice. A voice of purpose, similar to Crystal Gayle.
What pushed you to share your music with the world?
When we got our first radio station in my hometown of Sulphur, Oklahoma and, of course, meeting the icon Merle Haggard in Oklahoma is what really pushed me to share my music with the world.
What were some challenges you faced when making the album?
Everybody who worked on the album was great, the only challenge that comes to mind is traveling. I had to travel to Nashville to write the songs, which Nashville is the greatest place to write songs, maybe in the world. The city has the greatest concentration of writers and writing skills. When I was flying out of Dallas to go to California, to record at Merle’s studio for the first time, my flight was delayed due to weather. I missed getting to see Merle, Theresa and his whole band laying down the tracks for the first two songs. I learned a big lesson, if you’re supposed to be somewhere, fly out the day before. Or even the day before that. (laughs.)
What behind the scenes stories do you want to share about the album?
Because I wasn’t there, someone in the band said ‘hey, anyone know of a vocalist?’ and trying to be funny Merle said ‘I can do it.’ They say he never does this, but Merle sang the vocals to lead the musicians so they could lay down the tracks, in place of me. I’ll never forget that. Merle’s legendary saxophone player, Don Markham, may he rest in peace, drove five hours to play saxophone for me on “Got Lonely Too Early.” I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life. Also, being able to record the album at Merle’s ranch in Northern California was amazing.
What’s something positive you try to keep in mind or do when negativity surrounds you?
I try to think of the good, honest people that I’ve been lucky to meet and know and how they keep on moving forward. We all have some bad days, but there’s always someone going through it worse. Now we’ve lost people to this pandemic, it reminds us that every day is a gift.
What is your favorite Oklahoma memory?
I have two that stand out the most. Going to Cheyenne, Oklahoma (the real West) to visit my relatives. We would always ride horses or go to rodeos. In the summertime, when it’s 100 degrees, we went to Chickasaw National Recreation Area and would jump off the falls at Little Niagra into 50-degree water.
What are some of your favorite places to perform or listen to live music in Oklahoma?
The Deli in Norman, Oklahoma, which is owned by a dear friend. WinStar or Riverwind Casino, they’ve had so many great artists perform there. Civic Center Music Hall, the Zoo Amphitheatre, Remington Race Park and the Blue Note which are all in Oklahoma City are also some of my favorite places to listen to live music.
What else would you like people to know about yourself and your music?
It’s been such an honor to have my music played for the U.S. Olympic Committee, ESPN March Madness, the NCAA Rotary Lombardi Awards, FOX Sports and the songs have been played in sports stadiums nationwide. Having the support of these organizations is such a humbling experience that I’m so grateful for.