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Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:20

Local singer-songwriter releasing debut album at Lyric Theatre

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Swift Current singer-songwriter Jacqueline Hudec will showcase songs from her debut album during an evening of music at the Lyric Theatre on Aug. 29.


The EP release party for the album Prairie Girl will start at 8 p.m.
The opening act will be Becky Neustaeter, who has recently performed with Hudec at a number of Saskatchewan Country Music Association shows.
Jacqueline will be joined on stage by a number of other musicians, including brothers Al and Rob. Denise Wall, who co-wrote one of the songs on the album, will be a special guest.
“So I think it will be a really nice evening with some talented people,” Jacqueline said.
Rob’s blues guitar provides a distinct sound to many of the songs and Al is responsible for the tight harmonies, bass and keyboards.
She collaborated with a number of other artists to produce the album of seven original songs and is excited about the result.
“It has more of a country feel than I thought it would,” she said. “When I first started the project I thought it would be more bluesy, but I’m really happy with it.”
One of her objectives was to produce an album with radio-friendly songs. Six of the songs are around three minutes long. She said it is a feel-good album with music that is perfect for long drives through the prairies.
“Lyrically it’s not all positive, but I think every song has a real feel good, even when you’re sad,” she mentioned.
The title song Prairie Girl is about coming home to the vast openness of the prairies.
“It’s about leaving small-town Saskatchewan when you’re young and having dreams and following them and getting sidetracked on the way,” she said.
“I lived in other places, but I love Saskatchewan and I am a prairie girl. My parents come from farming backgrounds. I’m a small-town girl.”
She grew up in Leader and moved to Swift Current in 1995 after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at the University of Regina. She is an experienced performer, both as a lead vocalist and guitar player. She has a personal connection with all the songs on the album. There are songs about relationships, a dusty road, and wishing to reach a destination during a road trip.
“It’s a kind of a compilation of what I’ve written so far,” she said. “I’m now in my forties and I can look back on things with a little bit more perspective.”
She has been songwriting for a number of years and collaborated with other artists on four of the seven songs, including Swift Current musicians Dave Cyca and Denise Wall.
“When you write by yourself, I think sometimes it takes a little longer because you are doing it on your own,” she said. “(If) things aren’t sounding right, you’ve got to leave it alone for a while, come back.”
Sometimes the creative process can be very effective. She wrote the song Barely Hanging on to You within five minutes.
“So there is no rhyme or reason sometimes, but what anybody says about writing — the more you do it, the more you actually sit down and write, the better writer you become,” she said.
She enjoys the creative process with other songwriters and the connection with the other person.
“Then you really have to be in tune with each other,” she said. “You blend your thoughts together with the objective of creating a good song, whether it’s lyrically or musically. Someone will find a really great hook musically ... and then you build on that.”
She studied songwriting with Kim Fontaine at the University of Saskatchewan’s extension program from 2003 to 2005 and she also attended songwriting retreats at Emma Lake, where she worked with accomplished musicians such as Jay Semko of the band The Northern Pikes and music producer David Taylor, who mastered her album in his Vancouver studio.
The album was produced and arranged by Stephen Kambeitz at SKB Project Studios in Richmound. He is also the front man for the country-roots-rock group, Chemical Cowboys.
“Stephen just seemed like the right person to work with,” she said. “He’s a musician and understands the process. He’s done a lot of producing. ... He’s just really talented and he hears things. I’m really glad I went with him as my producer.”
Copies of her new album will be available at the EP release party Aug. 29.
Tickets are $15 and available at Pharmasave. Doors at the Lyric Theatre will open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Songs from the album will be available for purchase on iTunes and through her website at: www.jacquelinehudec.com.

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