Kristina Jacobsen’s first album, Three Roses, proves that she is a certified country singer/songwriter who couldn’t be more authentic if she had been born backstage at the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, a program that she celebrates in a song of the same name. She delivers her 11 originals in a yodeling alto that can warm your heart, bite off a searing denunciation, or celebrate good times with equal fervor. The songs revolve, for the most part, around family, both blood and chosen, and she is especially adept at portraits. “Long Returning Road,” written with Janni Littlepage, was inspired by the lives of two female ancestors whose dreams were torpedoed by life’s realities. “Inez” paints a Navajo woman—“A Latter Day Saint, but she drinks pop and whisky”—who’s been beaten down but not conquered. “Has-Been Cowboy” flips off a man turned into a bitter bully with a limp. “Dogs and Children” delivers a startling simile that compares an abused dog with its owner: “Like her, he’s a carcass on a chain.” “White Knuckles” tells of a successful woman’s emotional dislocation, and how her infant’s white knuckles grasping her finger relax her own frozen grip on anxiety. There’s grit, dust, desolation, and abandonment—hey, it’s country music—and love and redemption enough to make up for it. Jacobsen, who plays guitar and lap steel, is backed by a fine group of musicians, and they help her, as she says in her song “Ms. Loretta Lynn,” “sing it sassy . . . sing it downright brassy.”
Performing with Merlettes at Outpost Performance Space, March 5th, 2016, Albuquerque, New Mexico
1: What artist would you most love to work with?
Jim Lauderdale, Mary Gauthier, Gretchen Peters, Eliza Gilkyson
2: What instrument brings you the most joy?
lapsteel guitar, of course!
3: What was the worst advice?
To stay safe in my shell and not write songs.
4: What was your first concert?
No answer provided.
5: What/where is the best road food?
No answer provided.
6: What’s the best music advice you ever got?
To speak my truth and locate my authentic self through songwriting.
7: Who is your most surprising inspiration?
My dog :)