Songwriting demands an honesty that keeps Jaime Wyatt staring straight into her feelings when others might look away.
When the Americana artist shares music from “Feel Good,” her third album, during Friday’s show at the Southern Café and Music Hall, listeners can get a sense of how getting real can be worth the climb, and worth celebrating.
”I’m grateful to songwriting,” Wyatt said. “I talk about it a lot in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Really, I shouldn’t be here, but I am.
”I used to escape my feelings. In a way, songwriting saved my life.”
In her song “Love is a Place,” Wyatt knew it was important that the speaker in the song was singing to another woman. “That was my experience,” Wyatt said.
When others recommended that she change the lyrics to address a male love interest instead, in pursuit of a product with a more mainstream appeal, Wyatt stuck to her guns.
”I knew I had some sort of intuition that I needed to say things plainly, and not hide it. Now, I feel much safer — and that it was important,” she said.
Wyatt wouldn’t hide being queer from her listeners any more than she would conceal her past battles with addiction and recovery or her time behind bars.
”I don’t think the world owes me anything, but I think there’s so much value in letting go,” Wyatt said. “I think I get pushback on all of it for being who I am, but that’s why I’m there. Half the people in the audience are queer, and they don’t know it. I didn’t see anyone who looked like me who was queer. Society expects people to be heterosexual. Just the whole inception of America is ‘man, woman, end of story.’ “
In similar fashion, “World Worth Keeping” does not back away from its call to address climate change, and “Where the Damned” helps keeps missing indigenous women from being forgotten.
But finding peace in one’s own truth can make the journey easier for others, which is part of the songwriter’s sacred trust. Getting a better understanding of one’s own feelings, relating to others and reaching for connection and community can make the toil feel worthwhile.
”I think music advocates for everything society dismisses,” Wyatt said. “Everything about music is healing. Music has always been my teacher and my healer.”(tncms-asset)3780e552-c550-11ee-af29-cfd93c82d9ee(/tncms-asset)
She is noticing an encouraging change in younger generations who expect to be accepted as they are.
”There’s just way more visibility in Gen Z and younger,” Wyatt said. “I don’t think they’re growing up like I grew up, with slanderous words for gay people. The young people are going to save us.”
Joshua Quimby also is on Friday’s bill.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25 at the door and $20 in advance. For tickets, go to thesoutherncville.co.