Finding Frances, Part 1

We thoroughly enjoyed having Jamie Lou Connelly and Garrett Brolund complete residencies with us this December, and we're excited to share a bit from Jamie Lou's perpsective. 

Dec. 10th- 16th, 2018 

Garrett and I headed to Austin, TX to finish writing our upcoming Album 'Dear Frances' which is set to release in May. I can't begin to fully express my gratitude for the opportunity The House of Songs has given us with this residency. It's hard to write and focus when your life is so, dogs, jobs, rent, the man.... We had a full week to dive into this album, along with the chance to collaborate with Austin songwriters and make lasting friendships. 

We explored Austin, with mostly on our feet, we met incredible people, like an Uber driver from Africa, who expressed his gratitude for his freedom and love for America, we ate amazing AND terrible Tex-Mex, drank too many tequila shots at The Buzzmill, and had the chance to play with one of our heroes, Bonnie Whitmore at The Continental Club Gallery. 

All in all, a pretty great trip. So, thank you to The House of Songs, from The Hullabaloo 🤗 You're making our dreams possible, and we now feel like we have a home with you in Austin. 

Dec. 10th, Monday 

These days, there's a lot that goes into both Garrett and I leaving together for a trip, like: 

Who is watching the dogs? Who is watching Marley? Do we have food for them? Where is our passport? How do airports work? 

But, this day was pretty easy. Garrett's mother saved us and came for the whole week we were gone to watch over our little world in Springdale. Also, the more we travel together the easier it gets, and the more prepared we are. 

Still, airports are terrible, but planes are amazing. 

Four p.m. on Monday, Graham Weber picked us up at the Austin airport and brought us to the House to show us our temporary home for the week and then took us to eat at an amazing Tex-Mex place with avocado margaritas (yes it was pretty amazing). 

The rest of the night we settled into the coziness of the house and fell asleep around 8 p.m. 

Dec. 11th, Tuesday 

I started my first co-write of the week with Daniel Leopold of Leopold and his Fiction. 

Daniel and I re-worked a song I had started a couple of months prior. He showed me the importance of using Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and we stayed on the back porch writing, laughing, and connecting on our lives as parents in the music industry. The song is still unfinished, but that just means I get to hang out with a true rockstar again soon! 

That afternoon, Jake from The House drove us to the grocery store, where we bought a roast that lasted the entire week and we spent the rest of the night writing a new song called “I'll Leave the Light On” in the kitchen nook. 

Dec. 12th, Wednesday 

Can we talk about how great this back porch is? 

That morning I started my second co-write of the week with this beautiful flower of a person. 

Writing with Daisy O'Connor was like a therapy session. I started playing G, D, C and we sang melodies we thought would work. Daisy suggested we split up for 10 minutes and write and then compare and share what we came up with (I completely love this model of co-writing, because I usually write very personally) When Daisy came back, I was floored by a chorus she wrote for the song, we went with it and wrote a story about the realization of a toxic relationship and the strength it takes to leave it. The song is beautiful and I can't wait to put it out and play it again with her. 

Later that evening I met up with friend and collaborator Ali Holder at Radio Coffee. I love this woman and her powerful songwriting. Getting to meet up with her was so refreshing. 

That evening, Garrett started his first co-write of the week with Cory Reinisch of Harvest Thieves. 

Something amazing happens when you meet people of the same cloth, and same musical influences. Garrett and Cory jammed around on a song called “Capital Lights” through the night, ignited by old coffee and talks about Whiskeytown albums. 

Afterwards, Garrett and I walked to Buzzmill a couple miles down the road and enjoyed an evening of comedy, tequila, and an un-tuned guitar brought in by a dreadlocked traveler. 

Dec. 13th, Thursday 

The morning started with running through the songs we have written for Dear Frances, which I am really starting to like, and played old songs by our heroes on the grand piano in the living room. Garrett got ready for his co-write and I got ready for a meeting with the House of songs team. 

Garrett and Eric Bettencourt swapped songs and stories, working out the finer points of an outlaws tale in a song called “Tombstone”. 

After my meeting and Garrett's co-write, we left for a much needed guitar shop fix at Austin Vintage Guitars. 

This led to an adventure through Austin on foot before heading back to the House to get ready for our show at the Continental Club Gallery with Bonnie Whitmore. 

The Gallery was filled with comfort and genuine kindness. It's so refreshing to be in a town where that genuineness is truly felt. Austin is real, with very real people, I hope other cities and music scenes take that back with them when they visit here. 

Bonnie Whitmore hosted with her guest, Jana Pochop. Both ladies put on an incredible show that kept us all captivated the entire time. About 11:30 p.m. Bonnie invited Garrett and I up for a couple of songs, and we played our newest tunes from Dear Frances for the listening room. The generosity of the night was contagious, with cheers and listening ears. Graham Weber also came to show his support. To play in front of such seasoned writers and performers is nerve-wracking, but with this group of musicians, you immediately feel at home. 

Dec. 14th, Friday 

The day we met Colin Gilmore. 

Basically, we love him. 

The song Garrett and Colin wrote, “Road Less-Traveled”, filled the house, and created one of the best energies I've felt in a long time. Afterward, Colin invited us out for sopas and tacos at probably the best restaurant we went to in Austin. 

We now have a March run planned with him through Arkansas, so keep an eye out for that. 

The rest of our last night was one of the most productive nights we have had in a long time. Graham had showed us this recording device he had at the house called a Spire. (It's our new favorite thing). 

We set up in a side bedroom and laid down almost 10 demos, one take for each song, powered by the rest of our pork roast and yerba mate. 

We went to sleep for the last night, with a feeling of accomplishment and inspiration. 

Dec. 15th, Saturday 

We enjoyed our last morning in the kitchen, made our last pot of coffee, and cleaned the house before we ventured back to our least favorite place, the airport. 

Thank you, House of Songs, for existing and igniting inspiration and creativity in tired souls. We can't wait to come back to our new found home you made for us in Austin. 

-Jamie and Garrett, 

Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo

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