Dayton-based country singer records new album in Nashville



Three albums into her recording career, Dayton-based country singer Jamie Suttle is checking items off her musical bucket list. Her latest full-length, “Dark Roots,” released in December, was recorded at Welcome To 1979 in Nashville.

“I really wanted to record something in Nashville because so many of my heroes recorded there,” Suttle said. “Welcome To 1979 blew my mind. I’ve worked in some incredible studios in Dayton and Columbus, and I will again, for sure, but Nashville has this incredible creative energy I’ve never found anywhere else. I’m also pressing to vinyl, which is another big dream. Growing up with so much various music in my house, and especially a lot of ‘70s and early ‘80s rock, R&B and soul music, I wanted that warm and welcoming feel.”

Justin Weaver, who produced the album, is a touring guitarist for Wynonna Judd.

“Justin is not only an incredible producer to work with but also a phenomenal musician and great writer, which helps,” Suttle said. “I honestly expected it would be a factory-made project and I’d be treated like just another number. I’ve heard stories from friends that are independent artists and were treated that way but that wasn’t my experience. Justin sat down and really listened to the demos we sent. He asked me about my influences, not just in the country world, but all my influences. He asked where my head was at when I was writing these songs and about my vision for the album.”



While Suttle has a band led by her guitar-playing husband, Chris, they aren’t on “Dark Roots.” Weaver recorded the tracks with session players Justin Ostrander and Aaron Currie on guitar, drummer Jared Kneale, Phil Chandler on keyboards and bassist Chris Autry.

“Justin gave me a list of some of the people he was thinking about for the songs,” Suttle said. “I felt super intimidated because those guys are all world-touring musicians, but they really gave the project their full attention. I was still intimidated to sing my songs in front of them. I’ve always had stage fright no matter what size stage I sing on but when I look back when I felt most nervous and out of place, that brought out my best work, so I really wanted to give it a shot.”



Despite going to Nashville, Suttle didn’t make an album that is traditional or contemporary country. It’s definitely rootsy, grounded by the southern lilt in her voice, but it’s a much more interesting listening experience than much of today’s cookie-cutter country.

“This record is definitely the next chapter for me, but I struggle with the genre to place it,” she said. “I really wanted to make a record I’d listen to and not something that was trying to fit into any kind of mold. My songs are deeply honest. If someone listening feels the same way I do, I want them to find grace and a soft place to land.”

Suttle is also confident her music speaks to her artistic flexibility.

“I’ve always written songs as a sort of therapy but depending on the producer you work with, it gets squished, pulled and tweaked to fit into a certain vein that’s popular at the time,” she noted. “Instead of trying to fit into a certain mold, we set the mold on fire, and I sang around it.”

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