February 20th, 2022 7pm Stage 2
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“There’s nothing I love more than taking people with me on a genuine emotional journey.” Written, mostly, in the wake of a relationship’s end, Jane Bruce’s debut full-length album, My Bed, takes listeners through the passage of a specific moment in time, a familiar touchstone in what it means to be a person: the experience of letting go of a perceived future, and recognizing self-worth in the process. It’s raw, honest, messy and sometimes a little angry along the way.
“My Bed is about the sad and sticky process of letting go of a lover, as well as the idea of a life I thought I wanted and trying to find confidence and security in the unknown,” Jane says.
Jane grew up in Ogden, Utah, a mountain town north of Salt Lake City. “I was always a bit of a social outcast growing up to proud, alcohol-drinking sinners in a very Mormon town, and the friends I did have were always the cool indie people who listened to the ‘Devil’s music.”
She taught herself to play guitar at age 15 on a borrowed guitar, partly in an attempt to process feelings about teen crushes and the myriad feelings that accompany young adulthood, but also as a way to be seen as more than just a “theater kid.” Once she started playing and writing, she realized she didn’t care much at all what other people thought when she had the ability to get lost in emulating Joni Mitchell’s tunings and Shawn Colvin’s fingerpicking patterns.
Jane notes that her dad can be credited with introducing her to many of her early favorites whose fingerprints can be heard throughout her own music — Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, and Alanis Morisette, among them. Though many young women in the ‘90s can count the latter as an influence, it’s a particularly noteworthy turn of events for Jane, who was an original cast member in Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill" until it's untimely closing due to Covid-19.
“I didn’t realize then how much those women had already shaped the way I would play and write, but I’m grateful my dad had such good taste,” she says with enthusiasm. “I discovered Laura Marling in college and she’s definitely had a big impact on my writing and playing, and still continues to inspire, and lately I feel in complete awe of Lori McKenna and her writing. I listened to a lot of Lianne La Havas, Courntney Marie Andrews, Brandi Carlile, Margaret Glaspy, Lucy Dacus, and lots of Alanis, when I wrote this album.”
Much of My Bed was written in Cambridge, MA, where Jane moved to work on “Jagged Little Pill” before it made its way to Broadway, after a blindsiding breakup initiated by a partner she was planning a life with. It was recorded at Wonderpark Studios in Brooklyn, with musicians-engineers Eva Lawitts and Chris Krasnow, and fellow singer-songwriter Elliah Heifitz.
“I was navigating finding my footing again, in the city, on my own,” she says. “I’d felt like I couldn’t really write fully honest songs when I was in the relationship I was in, so even though a lot of what I wrote about was painful, I was grateful to have the inspiration and creative freedom to express it. I felt so empowered by the truth, frustration and disappointment I was starting to feel able to put into words and music, all while being immersed in all of Alanis’s grit and raw emotion.”
The title track, the first song written for the album and the catalyst for the rest, chronicles feelings in the wake of a life changing, of finding your place in a new reality: “I was angry, upset, hurt, and trying to find something I could hang onto to help me move forward,” Jane says. “‘Anything less than loving has no place in my bed’ felt like the mantra I needed to help me heal, and also keep me from giving my love to the wrong person again.”
The sequencing of My Bed tracks the back and forth of such a rollercoaster time; one moment it's longing and fragile, in “Best of Me,” next defiant and confident in “Song About You”.
“No breakup, or change, or chapter of life ever comes to a perfect conclusion, it lingers and teaches you new things about yourself and your needs and flaws along the way,” she says. “I didn’t know it when I set out on writing this project, but writing these songs really allowed me to trust that I can be powerful, that I don’t need everyone to like me all the time, and that my ability to love people so fully is actually a superpower.”
“And also, the catharsis I feel when I put something in a song that releases me from a sticky emotion I couldn’t name is the best feeling in the world.”
"Best of Me" is featured on Holler Country's Best New Artists of 2021 Playlist, and with regards to "Too Late," they write: "Against a somber acoustic guitar, Bruce's voice climbs, aspiring to something more. 'I always thought I'd be farther along, not stuck in first gear like I'm still 21,' she sings in the opening moments of the track. Bass and drums enter after the chorus, grounding the song with a heftier weight that balances Bruce's soaring voice."