Jaimee Harris isn’t afraid to get personal.
The singer-songwriter’s latest album, “Boomerang Town,” was released on Feb. 17. She’s currently on a tour with fellow musicians Tim O’Brien, Jan Fabricius and Mary Gauthier.
The album details family trauma and addiction, yet features a few love songs and optimism within the words.
“It is definitely an exploration of the town where I grew up, which is a small town outside of Waco, Texas, and it is a discussion and questioning of my upbringing,” Harris said. “My family has a history of mental illness and alcoholism and I have been in recovery for a little over nine years so the songs are kind of an exploration of maybe why I went down that path and maybe why other members of my family have gone down that path and were not able to survive alcoholism.”
Harris grew up in Hewitt, Texas, eight miles outside of Waco, which served as the inspiration for her writing.
“It is also a reflection on the intense amount of grief that we’ve been experiencing, particularly in my community, but I know globally as well,” Harris says. “It’s certainly since the pandemic of losing a lot of people will not just the grief of losing people, but also the idea of the grief of losing a dream or readjusting your life expectations.”
The tour makes two stops in New Mexico – on in Santa Fe on Thursday, March 16, at the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art. On Friday, March 17, the tour makes a stop in Corrales at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church. The Corrales show is sold out.
“We have got Tim O’Brien and his partner, Jan, and then Mary and me and it is going to be really fun,” Harris said. “What Mary and I do does not often intersect with the Bluegrass world, so we’re all collaborating with each other in exciting ways. We are going to keep it a little bit loose, so that we can really get inspired in the moment, but all of our songs are going to be presented in a way that they’ve never been said presented before.”
For Harris, attending literary conferences was instrumental to her growth as an artist.
“I used to not have an answer when people ask me that question, but I say if you’re a songwriter, one piece of advice is if you have the opportunity to go to the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival that happens in New Orleans every spring,” Harris said. “The reason for that is because I think sometimes as songwriters, we forget that we are writers and songwriting can be a high form of literature.”
This year, the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival is taking place from March 23-26.
“A lot of times, I have benefited from going to a lot of different music conferences, but there’s a tendency of those conferences to talk a lot about the music business and not so much about the creation of art,” Harris said. “It has been my experience going to literary conferences, that the author’s there talk a lot about the process of writing.”