Wichita singer-songwriter Jenny Wood’s new CD, Don’t Let Them Get In Your Head, is out this weekend. The vocalist says it’s a strong reflection of who she is as a writer and performer.
Jenny Wood’s known for her high-energy live performances and uncompromising vocals. So, one might be forgiven for thinking that she’d soften her stage approach to accommodate her studio environment. She says producer Scott Spriggs and his father, Wayne, were eager to capture that energy in both audio and visual worlds when made her new album, Don’t Let Them Get in Your Head.
“He actually wanted to videotape some of the times that I record because I’m just the same way on stage as if I’m in the little booth,” she says. “And Wayne and the guys thought it was hilarious because I’m very much, like, really physical, and it’s the same way. It’s really fun. I absolutely love it. I would get out of breath. I would close my eyes and get as physical as I do on stage. That was really fun for me. And the guys? All of them were really freaked out. And the girls were all, like, ‘Oh, my god!’ I was, like, well, this is how I do it.”
It’s not just Wood’s approach to singing that’s unorthodox. Her ideas about sounds on her record were sometimes equally so. Luckily, she says, producer Scott Springs was able to figure out exactly what she wanted.
“For drum sounds I wanted the snare sounds to be like a bag of rocks in a pillow case thrown against the cement,” she says. “Scott said, ‘I know what you’re talking about!’ Very weird things. I called some of the sounds ‘elephant splashes’ for some of the trumpet sounds. He knew exactly what I wanted. Scott was very telepathic with the way with what I was trying. Very good team. Very lucky to have them.”
Wood adds that she’s pleased with her new album, Don’t Let Them Get in Your Head, especially, she adds, now that she’s able to capture vocal performances she’s happy with.
“I think that, for a long time in recording, in my early 20s, I heard a lot of my music theater background come out, and it was so embarrassing. I hated it. I would hate to hear recordings or watch video,” she says. “I still hate to watch video. With vocal stuff, I think it’s just from singing so much that now when I hear it, I’m just so glad and so grateful if it turns out the way I was hoping for. I really try to get those emotional baby voices, not even trying to stay on the tone, but really just trying to get the emotion in there. With the belt-ier stuff, as long as I can hear the right emotion I was hoping for when I wrote the song, to bridge that. Then I’m happy with it.”
Wood says that it’s not just singing she’s gotten better at. She feels more confident in her abilities as a business woman today. But, she adds, she still sometimes feels that she has a long way to go.
“In waiting tables,” she says, “if some of the people that I was waiting on recognized me from playing they’d have this look of disappointment when I was serving them. Just utter sorrow for me. So that started to get heavier, the first couple of years of people seeing me out there, they’d say, ‘Oh, yeah, I recognize you.’ But then the last two or three years, I’ll serve people, and they’ll look at me, like, ‘Wow! What are you doing?’ Just really disappointed.
“I don’t know," she continues. "It was like a parental disappointment that I felt very embarrassed. I don’t know. I just started to think I need to take this seriously. In other parts of the world, this is a serious business. I think because we’re in Wichita, it’s looked at as a hobby and people, a lot of people, feel sorry for you if you think this is a business. ‘Oh, sorry, that’s just a dream.’ But, for me, I feel lucky that people look at me in a way that they feel sorry for me if I’m not taking this seriously. So, I just try to take better consideration and treat it as a business. Cause in other places it should be a business, worthy to be that.”
Jenny Wood celebrates the release of Don’t Let Them Get in Your Head Saturday evening at Barleycorn’s.
Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin.
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