She lives on a narrowboat that travels back and forth between Northants and Bucks. She creates bluesy Americana. She has a fabulous new EP out. She is Jasmine Burns, and New Boots had a chat with her.
How did you get into music, and then begin to play an instrument and write?
I grew up in a family where no one was a musician or could sing, but my folks were lovers of music. From a very young age I could hold a tune. I vividly remember my Mum playing Blondie and David Bowie tapes in the car and I would sing along on the way to nursery. During primary school I took trumpet lessons, which I absolutely hated at the time. But there was a fellow student that could play guitar and I was instantly inspired. I begged my folks to pay for tuition, but they could only afford to buy me a guitar. So I took it upon myself and took out a book from the local library and sat down each afternoon after school and practiced simple chords until I could just about play a song. I still have said book at home! I’m scared that a librarian is going to find me one day at one of my upcoming gigs with a massive fine! From practicing simple chords I started learning favourite songs, and soon enough wrote my first song at the age of 13. It was god awful, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
How would you describe your sound?
My sounds is very much a mixture of a lot of genres. I take inspiration from a lot of sources, and not only music that is similar to what I write. I really struggle to put myself into that one box. My material varies so much from something that is distinctly country, to other songs that would be considered bluegrass or Americana. But, I feel I’ve really churned them all up and put my own stamp on it. My sound is sassy and strong.
Who are your main influences in music?
My influences have changed so much throughout the years. In the early days of my writing I would listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Neil Young. Recently, I have been heavily influenced by a lot of early blues artists, such as Otis Rush and Son House. But, most notably, Shakey Graves has been my main source of inspiration over the last four years. I’ll be seeing Shakey Graves on the November 13th at KOKO in Camden.
You live on a narrowboat – how does that effect your creativity?
A lot of my songs are based around my life and thoughts, so occasionally living on a narrowboat will come up in the subject of my songs. But I wouldn’t say its affected the style of my writing. I do a lot of other creative things, such as painting, sewing and crocheting, which are influenced by traditional canal culture. Music has always remained sort of separate. But I suppose there must be some kind of relationship, as boating is part of me, as is writing songs.
Tell us everything about this new EP, Homesick.
My new EP came about when my local venue asked me if I wanted to put on an event with me as the headline. I jokingly said, “why don’t we make it an EP launch?”. At that point some of the songs weren’t even written, let alone recorded. Hah! But that’s how it all got started. I decided right there and then to release this new EP. Two years ago I released a live EP that was really well received. So I figured, what the hell? It’s bluesy and it’s gritty. With a few tearjerkers thrown in for good measure. The EP is somewhat of a concept, in that all the songs reference the word Home. Everything that has gone towards making this EP has come out of my own pocket. It has all been recorded by myself on my Laptop using Garageband. The majority of it was recorded at home on my humble little narrowboat, and in my friend Craig’s living room. Featuring on the EP is Craig Stoker and John Cadden-Lawrence from local Northampton band Mojo Mules. They brought a really great energy to the record.
What are your live shows like?
I would say that my live shows are a space for people to have a good time and dance around. A lot of my songs reference a lot of life’s troubles. So I’d like to think it’s a space for us all to relate to one another.
Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire/Buckinghamshire? Any favourite acts/venues?
I have been frequenting a local open mic night called The Sunset Lounge, in Newport Pagnell, for the last three years now. It’s an incredible space for all musicians to showcase their music and themselves. The room always has a great vibe and welcoming feel. The guys that run the night have made me feel like a part of the family these last few years. I wouldn’t hesitate to say its my favourite music night or venue out there at the moment. Every Thursday at the back of The Cannon in Newport Pagnell. Be sure to check it out on Facebook for weekend events too.
What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
I’m going to have to say the process of making the new EP. I really threw myself into the deep end with that one. It was so much fun, but a real learning curve. One thing that I’ve really taken away from this situation is that it’s OK to ask for help.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I have been listening to Songs Of The Plains by Colter Wall a lot lately, and revisiting his back catalogue. His voice to me is so soothing. It’s like a warm coat on a winters day.
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I’m the sort of person that it’s all or nothing. So the plan is to just keep going. Keep pushing the EP and keep fighting the good fight. Oh, but if anyone can help me make it happen, I’d love to play some small stages at big named festivals in 2019.