The Lansing singer-songwriter turns from ‘sideman’ to star with songs from ‘It’s About Time’ during this week’s radio show, which also featured the premiere of tracks by Red Legs, Lushh and Jacob Simons.
Before finally diving into her first solo recording in nine years, singer-songwriter Jen Sygit was ready to throw in the towel.
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“I was actually sort of semi-considering retiring from the music scene or maybe approaching a different side of the scene like booking or something like that,” the Lansing artist and in-demand singer recalls. “I was feeling a little disillusioned.”
Then came the email from longtime pal and collaborator Dominic John Davis, who’s not only the bass player for Jack White and a host of other artists, but a talented producer who has increasingly turned his attention to spinning the dials on a variety of recording projects.
Davis encouraged Sygit to assemble songs for another album – “something cool” – that he could produce.
“He was really the catalyst,” says Sygit, who plays guitar and banjo. “This was just the shot in the arm I needed or kick in the butt or whatever to really go for it. It gave me the energy to give it another shot.”
The result? The appropriately titled, “It’s About Time,” a collection of 10 songs – including a few co-written with Davis – that officially gets released Oct. 8.
Recorded by Ian Gorman at La Luna Recording in Kalamazoo with Ian Gorman, the album features nationally respected guests such as Luther Dickinson, Colin Linden and The McCrary Sisters as well as longtime Michigan cohorts Davis, Drew Howard, Mike Lynch, Geoff Ian Lewis and Rachael Davis.
Sygit’s first album since 2009’s “So Long Pollyana” features some songs that have “been around for awhile” as well as brand new material, including the title track that she says was co-penned with Davis just two weeks before heading into the studio.
“It’s a variety pack – a wide variety of styles. I like that in a record,” she says of songs that range from bluesy uptempo tracks to poignant ballads. “I’m happy about that. The songs are kind of all over the map.”
And in many ways, “it’s more of a rebirth. That’s how I feel about it.”
Sygit performed two of those songs – “Smell the Flowers” and “Hurricane Rider” (inspired by her one-time aspiration to be a meteorologist) – during this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, several hours before she and her band were set to play the Centennial Stage at this weekend’s Wheatland Music Festival outside Remus.
Watch a video of her performance of “Smell the Flowers” here, with the full radio show podcast below.
VIDEO: Jen Sygit, “Smell the Flowers” (Local Spins on WYCE)
For Sygit, the long-awaited solo project comes after years of performing with other musicians, often as “a sideman” providing harmony vocals for Joshua Davis, Luke Winslow King, Greg Nagy and many others on stage and in the studio, as well as playing in the all-female Stella! and the Americana group Lincoln County Process.
“There’s more work involved when you’re in charge of a project,” she noted, adding she enjoyed the non-fronting role that allowed her to “show up and do your job and you go home.”
But finally having a new solo album to promote – with a slate of CD-release shows starting Oct. 12 that you can find online here – gives her renewed enthusiasm for her own material.
“I’m ready to put that energy forth again for my own career,” she said, “and hopefully this record will help me do that.”
The Sept. 7 edition of Local Spin on WYCE also featured the debut of new tracks by Red Legs, Lushh and Jacob Simons as well as selections from the latest albums by The Hacky Turtles, Joshua Davis, Barrel Bones, Peace to Mateo, The War and Treaty and Red Tail Ring (this week’s musician’s pick by Sygit). Listen to the full podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (9/7/18)
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