Jamie Anderson, Singer - Songwriter - Parking Lot Attendant

cover of the new cd: three bridges Download the high resolution poster, suitable for printing.
Three Bridges

2007 marks my 20th year of touring. I can't imagine a better celebration than to release an album like this one, a showcase of some of my most requested songs. I wish I could've put the liner notes in a beautiful thick CD booklet but I didn't have a Trump budget. Much better hair, though. So, here's the rest of what I wanted to say. Settle in with a cup of coffee. Heck, make a pot. You know how we musicians are, especially when we get to talk about our music.

In 1987 my friend Martie van der Voort and I decided we wanted to attend the Michigan Women's Music Festival. If only we didn't live in Arizona. Hey! We're musicians, we can book a tour. Martie brightly exclaimed, "We'll pretend we're booking agents!" and off we went. I've been collecting tiny motel soaps ever since.

I've crossed many bridges with this crazy touring life, playing in thirty seven states and four countries, in over a thousand venues, from the 1993 March on Washington for GLBT rights (for a mere few hundred thousand people) to small house concerts. I missed Montana and both Dakotas but I've played in Alaska, in Hawaii, on a couple of Caribbean islands and heck, I've been happy to perform in Kokomo and Boise -- wherever there's someone who wants to hear my tunes.

It's fitting that I dedicate this album to Dakota. No, not the state, but my (now ex) partner who wisely commented, "You don't want to wake up when you're 80 and say, I wish I'd done that." I did it. And I'm still doing it. (I hope she's not mad about the break up songs. Hey, it's art.)

I also want to dedicate this to my fans. If it wasn't for you, I'd be singing in my living room for my house plants. They don't applaud. Not only did you clap but you cheered me on in countless ways. I love you all.

On May 11, 2007, when I traipsed into AirShow Mastering with my original master tapes and CDs, Charlie Pilzer, the engineer, smiled and raised an eyebrow. "Let's get most of these songs from the CDs" he calmly said, "And if we need to go back to the original studio tape, we will." We had to do just that for three of the cuts. Fortunately, he had an old reel-to-reel machine. I crossed every appendage as he loaded a tape that hadn't been played in 15 years. Every couple of minutes he'd hit stop, pull up the tape, and wipe the heads with a cotton swab and alcohol, removing a layer of mildew and dust. I'll be damned if the tapes played. It brought me right back to being a nervous new performer, wondering what the bejesus I was doing in that big studio, recording my little songs.

Here are the songs from Three Bridges -- click on 'expand' to see details. Afterwards is more information about each album.

All songs written by Jamie Anderson, except "A Family of Friends," by Sue Fink and Jamie Anderson; and "Where the Water Runs Deep," by Lois Hoover and Jamie Anderson.

1. Three Bridges expand | collapse

2. Drive All Night expand | collapse

3. Beautiful expand | collapse

4. One Out of Three expand | collapse

5. My Dad Loves to Sing expand | collapse

6. Too Busy Being Blue expand | collapse

7. I Wanna Be a Straight Guy expand | collapse

8. Grace expand | collapse

9. Dark Chocolate expand | collapse

10. Mama Come Quick expand | collapse

11. When Cats Take Over the World expand | collapse

12. Loretta and Bernadine expand | collapse

13. I Don't Know About the Night expand | collapse

14. Her Problem Now expand | collapse

15. Menstrual Tango expand | collapse

16. A Family of Friends expand | collapse

photo of jamie anderson
Recording the vocals for "A Family of Friends" l-r Miriam Davidson, Susanne Mulcahy, Martie van der Voort, Kiya Heartwood - Recording Listen, August 2001

(2001 Listen), � 1992 Sue Fink (ASCAP) and Jamie Anderson (BMI)

Jamie: acoustic guitar and vocal, Martie van der Voort: vocal, Kiya Heartwood: vocal, Miriam Davidson: vocal, Susanne Mulcahy: vocal

In the early 90's Sue Fink and I were at the Institute for Musical Arts, then in Bodega, CA. She had a song she thought might make a good title cut for a compilation we were planning. The chorus was done and there was a melody for the verses but she wasn't sure of lyrics. Sitting at a big grand piano we worked out the words for the verses. Dakota, Jane Emmer and June Millington wandered in and out of the room. We'd play them what we had and sometimes they'd offer suggestions. While they were originally credited with co-writing, it was really written by Sue and I, mostly by Sue. We recorded a few months later, in a choral style, with a bunch of women in women's music. A prominent part of my shows, I decided to re-record it in 2001 with just a few of my friends. I wish Sue could've joined us. We debated about various arrangements and ultimately decided that a simple guitar and vocals would suit the song just fine.

It's been sung by a lot of choruses all over the US and Canada. It does my heart good to know that one of our 'children' has traveled so many places.

You always thought your mother knew though you never said a word
You always thought that she'd come through but I guess she never heard
When you said the words out loud you thought she'd be okay
You asked for love and her support, but she just turned away

Let us be your family
Let us take you in
Let us be your family
A family of friends

They bought the old Victorian with plans to fix it up
Forever was in store for them but hope was not enough
Illness overlooked their dreams, it can disregard the heart
Now he goes upstairs alone, and lies there in the dark

Let us be your family
Let us take you in
Let us be your family
A family of friends

It's more than ties of birth
It's more than flesh and blood
We're always waiting here for you
A family's simply love

Let us be your family
Let us take you in
Let us be your family
A family of friends

17 �. Where the Water Runs Deep expand | collapse (1986 Heart Resort) � 1986, lyrics by Lois Hoover and music by Jamie Anderson

Here's more about the albums where I got these songs:

2005, A Promise of Light, produced and engineered by Kiya Heartwood, recorded at Outlaw Hill Studios in Stamping Ground, KY; mixed by Karen Kane at Overdub Lane in Durham, NC. expand | collapse

2001, Listen, produced by Kara Barnard, recorded at Overdub Lane in Durham, NC, engineered by Wes Lachot. expand | collapse

photo of jamie anderson
The recording's all done and we're still smiling although it looks like Martie is trying to make a break for it. l-r front, Martie van der Voort, Miriam Davidson back, Kara Barnard, Jamie, Kiya Heartwood, Susanne Mulcahy - Recording Listen, August 2001

Kara has played on my last three recordings and hot damn, she's creative, easy going and we rarely have to re-record her parts. She produced this project. We recorded it with few overdubs. That means most of it was recorded live - me sitting with my guitar pressed to me, a couple of mikes clustered around my face and guitar, while the drummer and bass player sat in the other room. I could barely see Leigh's head over her drum set, sticks poised above to hit the snare just as "Her Problem Now" ended. The energy was vibrant - like a live performance - but it meant we had to leave in a few mistakes. Many of my friends joined me on this album, including Martie van der Voort, the woman who did my first two tours with me. She flew all the way from Arizona to North Carolina. I threw her in a studio with other vocalists she never met and overnight they came up with those great backing vocals you hear on "A Family of Friends."

1999, Drive All Night, produced by Jim Henry and recorded at Signature Sounds Studio in Palmer, MA, engineered by Mark Thayer. expand | collapse

1995, Never Assume, produced by Lisa Koch and recorded by David Lange at David Lange Studios in Edgewood, WA (near Seattle). expand | collapse

photo of jamie anderson
1995. Taken at the same photo shoot where the cover for Never Assume was done. Photo by David Looft.

Lisa's concerts are pee-in-your-pants hilarious so you can just imagine what she's like off stage. It's a wonder we got any work done. At one point she and Linda Severt were practicing the goofy backing vocals to "Menstrual Tango" and accidentally ran the tape in their little Walkman backwards and at high speed. Nonplussed, they improvised Chipmunk-like vocals with a special hip thrusting dance that can only be described as frantic. We recorded it and were going to include it on the album as an outtake but lost it. For the title cut, the mandolin player had to sit in a utility closet. Of course, that brought on many "coming out" jokes when he was done. This was one of my favorite studios in which to work - from the soothing blue-green walls to the relaxed attitude and talents of engineer David. When we took a break, we could walk outside into the cool woods to take a walk or just hang out with the cats; one had a giant sized purr that we thought would be great for the end of the cat song. Ultimately we decided that a cut from a sound effects CD would be better than miking a squirming tomcat. It's still a real cat's purr, we just didn't record it ourselves.

1992, Center of Balance, produced by Dakota and Jamie, recorded by Steve English at the Sound Factory in Tucson, AZ. expand | collapse

photo of jamie anderson
Recording Center of Balance, 1992. Photo by Dakota.

Wow, that was a long time ago. I remember having a tough time recording "Loretta and Bernadine." The guitar part on this six minute long song wasn't turning out well because I had to play most of it perfectly in one take. This was in the days of analog tape - giant reels with � inch tape - and editing either meant an engineer with hair-trigger reflexes (push "record" NOW) or one who was good with a razor -- no, not to slit his wrists, but to actually cut the tape. After I finally got the guitar part, Dakota rushed in and reprimanded, "You are NEVER writing a six minute long song again." The violin player unconsciously sang along so we had to edit out her vocalizing.

1986, Heart Resort, produced by Jamie and recorded by Taylor Smith at the Sound Factory, Tucson, AZ. expand | collapse

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1986, around the time Heart Resort was released. Photo by Elliot.
Damn, talk about a long time ago. Two women, Sharon and Jeanette, heard me play at an open mike and decided I should have a recording. They gave me a little over a thousand dollars; a fortune to this folk singer who was taking a full load of classes at the University of Arizona and working part time as a secretary. I found the cheapest studio I could and hired my friends to play for free. The rest went for design, printing and duplicating. I hardly knew what I was doing and not long after, the engineer went back to his other job as a golf pro. I think I sold about 200 of these cassettes. Originally I wasn't going to include anything on Three Bridges from this tape but after finding a dusty copy in my garage and listening to it I thought heck, I might as well show you my complete journey, bumpy beginning songs and all. Lois Hoover wrote the words for this one 'cause this was in the days when I didn't think I could pen lyrics (except for a couple of songs that I was convinced were freaks of nature). Lois was my first girlfriend and the one I sing about in "I Don't Know About the Night." I haven't seen her since 1984 in Phoenix. I miss you, Lois.

There are a few other albums but I haven't included songs from them. A Family of Friends was released in mid 1993. It's a compilation I co-produced with Sue Fink and Dakota and contained the first recorded version of that song. Bad Hair Day was released late in 1993 and was a collection of funny songs, mostly from earlier albums. My first real album was Closer to Home, released in 1989 and while I haven't included any cuts from that one, it does contain my first recording of "Dark Chocolate." If you want one of those, I still have 2 boxes of LPs in my garage. The mildew is free.

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