Irene Jackson

Songwriter, Guitar Teacher, Music Producer



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undressed undressed - The CD

The Story Behind The Songs

This CD was recorded when I became aware that a number of people were interested in hearing my songs bare naked :-) I was just imagining a bunch of naked people listening to my music, and that's how it came about. Okay, I'm kidding. My philosophy has always been "the song is the thing"...everything else; production, instrumentation, etc., is just icing on the cake. If you can play a song with a simple vocal and guitar or piano and it feels "satisfying", then you've got a good song! I have always written my songs with that thought in mind.

There are many songs that rely heavily on production in order for you to recognize them and production is a big part of what you hear in mainstream music these days. I'm not dissing production in any way whatsoever, I just choose to write from a different perspective!

These songs were recorded over the winter of 2000 and released just before Catnip came out, in answer to those who wanted to hear the songs alone. I chose three or four songs from each release, my favourites or those that I thought were strongest, and recorded them in my studio, guitar and vocals only. It was not easy! My first thought was to record everything at once to get a real "live" feel to them, but I found that being able to concentrate on the guitar or vocals alone was inspiring. Having performed these songs many, many times, suddenly having the freedom to concentrate on one element at a time felt really "fresh"! And knowing the songs inside and out really helped me to anticipate on the guitar what I was going to do vocally.

Since the release of 'undressed' I've had a lot of positive feedback from people who truly appreciate hearing the songs this way, and that has surprised me somewhat! Since the songs from "Motor Scooter" and "Catnip" have already been described in terms of how they were written, I'll just talk about the three songs from "Foolishly Fantasizing", which is no longer available as a release.

Foolishly Fantasizing

I went to a high school reunion in 1985, the 10th for our class (you do the math!), and much of what was written in this song comes from that experience. I was thinking about old loves seeing each other again after a number of years of 'real life', and how we find ourselves longing for the old days when everything seemed simpler, and falling in love was a big deal :-) Guitar-wise, this was the first time I had really explored finding a groove in my fingerpicking and doing something different than just your standard fingerpicking pattern. You have to remember that this song was written just as I was expanding my playing abilities, and this was a big deal to me! Michael was the one who thought I should use this title on my CD, and the original version and CD was my first attempt at recording my own full length tape. Yes, it was on tape...before CD's were invented :-)

Eagles' Eyes

This song has an unusual story behind it. It was actually inspired by watching Robert Schuller on the "Hour Of Power" on a Sunday morning, when he described an interesting trait about the bald eagle. He said that when an eagle dies, it's always found with its face turned towards the last "light" it sees, whether it's dawn or dusk, or high noon, etc. He took that fact and created a metaphor out of it in his talk with his congregation that morning, and I took a similar metaphor and wrote a song :-) It has the dubious honour of being one of the only spiritual songs I've written, although I don't really refer to any particular religious belief or sect in it. Sometimes I cringe at the use of "love" and "above" in the lyrics. Yes, I used that rhyme scheme :-) I often think of re-writing it to get rid of them, but I'm not as embarrassed about it now as I used to be, and the song has found its own life and charm so I'll leave well enough alone!

Let It Go

I'd almost forgotten about this song, until one day when I was getting ready to play a gig and I brought it out just for fun. When I played it, I realized that it was a really solid representative of my earlier songwriting and a good quality song, so I brought it back into my repetoire again. This is the only song on the CD that has bass and background vocals on it. The reason that they are there is because I had recorded it as a demo to submit to some people who were interested in my music for a recording. It was a female duo, so I added the extra vocals to demonstrate how it could be sung with more than one voice :-) Come to think of it, the Dixie Chicks could do this one real justice :-) I really enjoyed how the demo turned out, and that's how it ended up being included on 'undressed'. The story behind the writing of the song began when I was leaving my last official "job" at a local radio station. I had decided to go into teaching, performing and writing music full time; taking the jump so to speak. I wrote this for my last boss, MaryJo, because I knew what a sop she was, always in tears when anyone left the company :-) I think she kind of liked it. I've always had this idea for a video for it...who knows? Maybe one day...



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