Music has been my golden thread. It has given my life direction, albeit with plenty of twists and turns. My name is Jennifer Jane Niceley and I’ve been making music for most of my life. The fascination with melody and lyric began before I could speak. I feel the Country & Western and the old-time mountain music I heard predominantly in my early years remain a major, although subtle, influence on my writing.
I was born and raised on a farm near the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, into a family deeply tied to the land. My father is an eighth generation Tennessean, my mother a fifth generation Texan; when I was young we were often making road trips west with the likes of Ernest Tubb and Merle Haggard on the cassette player.
I’ve always been a singer and poet first — learning to play guitar as a kid allowed me to put it all together. At the same time finding my mother’s Joni Mitchell records were their own revelation, a kind of permission to do it my own way.
Making these connections now seems easy, after two decades of sporadically recording my own albums (including Luminous in 2007 and Birdlight in 2014, under Jennifer Niceley) living in Nashville and trying to “make it”, getting close and giving up, moving away and moving back…After an 8 year period of living on family land and giving my all to farming, I deconstructed my life and have been letting music lead the way again.
In the process I wrote my most recent album, Angels, Demons, Red-Tail Hawks, and recorded with Eric McConnell in his East Nashville home studio (right before I moved to Colorado). To me it is an album of questions, strung together by dreams and unnamed longings.
As Angels, Demons, Red-Tail Hawks makes its way into the world (re-released through Tone Tree Music November 8, 2019), I am happy to say I’m still following the golden thread. And I’m looking forward to making the next album, with these new songs born in a very different landscape from my home in Tennessee.