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Jill Jack's new CD spans 15 years of personal songs
07 January, 2010
Detroit Free Press - Rachel May
It all started with a concept: a collection of songs, an intimate setting and a stellar cast of musicians to set the tone on "Songwriter Sessions," a new live recording from folk songstress Jill Jack. She'll celebrate with a release party on Saturday at Callahan's in Auburn Hills.

"Some musicians love to be in the studio but it's not my favorite thing," says Jack. "I totally get off on performing and dealing with the fans and the whole energy and relationship between the two."

And so 1 1/2 years of planning went into this live recording, and every detail was carefully honed.

For the set list, the Ferndale resident compiled songs she had written over the past 15 years that were scrapped from other recording sessions.

"There was a lot of material that I thought was finally ready," says Jack, who has won 24 Detroit Music Awards. "Some of those songs had never been played live."

Jack chose an outstanding cast of players for the live recording, including Billy Brandt, Nolen Mendenhall, Ron Pangborn, Mark Innace, Jen Sygit, Jason Dennie, Drew Howard, Dale Grisa, Colin Linden and Jack's daughter Emma.

"We only had two rehearsals for that night, but that's when you know you have really good players," says Jack.

The disc was recorded live over two nights at the Hartland Music Hall in April 2009, with Jack telling short stories about each of the songs. Jack explains: "People who don't write or perform music are so intrigued by the process." Those stories were left off the final disc, but are available at

Once the recording was complete, the live mixes shuffled between a few different engineers until Jack settled on a final mix done by Jim Kissling.

"Songwriter Sessions" is Jack's seventh album and third to be issued on her imprint UpHill Productions. The disc comes as a CD/DVD combo capturing both audio and video of the performance.

All but one of the musicians from the live sessions will perform with Jack. Guitarist Colin Linden is currently on tour. Arrive early and you'll get a chance to catch some of the DVD footage, which will air before Jack's performance.

A second release party, which is already sold out, is planned for Jan. 15 at the Black Crystal Café in Ann Arbor. Tickets are still available for Jack's Feb. 13 gig at the Ark in Ann Arbor.

8 p.m. Saturday, Callahan's, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. 248-858-9508. $10. For more:

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