Interview with SarahJayne of Jayne & the Huntsmen
With a voice reminiscent of Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker and emotional songwriting that blends folksy lyrics with bluesy guitar, SarahJayne has been a staple in the Huntsville original music sector since moving to Rocket City.
Stylistically, her solo sets run the gamut from one genre to another, never fitting neatly into one single box. Listeners can expect to enjoy Liz Longley-esque Americana tunes, followed immediately by unusual chord progressions and scatting breakdowns. But one theme remains no matter what song is being played: passion. SarahJayne often gets lost in her own songs in the very best way possible, taking you along with her on a ride through her memories or stories of people she met once who made an impression.
Although many musicians are having to make large changes in 2020 in an attempt to restructure to fit the new world, SarahJayne’s transformation began before quarantine even started. This introspective soul has taken on a new role as frontwoman of Jayne and The Huntsmen, a project that was temporarily derailed when COVID struck.
“Our first show was supposed to be in April, and you can imagine how that went. The guys and I have taken a lot of precautions to continue practicing together to be ready for when everything opened back up.”
After kicking off her musical career 8 years ago, SarahJayne has played across the country at dive bars and proper venues alike.
The places she’s been and the people she’s met along the way have been a major inspiration to her songwriting, which started before she even played shows at all. But she always knew she wanted a bigger energy.
“Since I was thirteen, I wanted to be in a rock band, but I didn’t really know how. There’s a certain ability that a full band has to captivate an audience and I’m a sucker for a good bass line, so to me, there’s no question why I wouldn’t want to front a band.”
Enter The Huntsmen, full of faces already familiar to the Huntsville music scene. Aaron Bradley Anderson, a fellow singer/songwriter and soloist who you’ve undoubtedly seen playing around town, takes up lead guitar and showcases his knack for distortions and twang. Spinships member Michael Cummings grooves on the bass, and Jake Tucker keeps the rhythm on the drums (often with his boots sitting next to his kit).
We can expect exciting things from this dream team going forward, as they are actively booking shows and preparing to record an EP. They’re buzzing with excitement to bring their new sound to Huntsville music lovers. Most recently they played a gig at The Camp, and SarahJayne relayed her enthusiasm: “We’re still encouraging people to social distance when they come to our shows, but we’re so happy to see faces and hear everyone singing back!”
So what makes the Huntsville scene so perfect for a new endeavor like this? Cooperation.
“I’ve played in lots of cities across the US, but when you look at Huntsville, it’s so unique. It’s not a competition here. We’re cooperative. You see artists coming from various genres who all uplift each other. Go to the R&B show and find a folk songwriter there. Go to see that aspiring pop artist and you’ll find a metal guitarist in the crowd. That’s endlessly inspiring, to see people lifting each other up and wanting each other to succeed. And this all is not to mention the fact that – if you put in the hustle – you can make music your full-time job here. I have truly found the right place here in the people who appreciate eclectic song choices and the venues that let me do my thing.”
Photo credits to Eric of @hsvphoto
Alex is a native Huntsvillian and a singer/songwriter, culture promoter, and content creator.
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