Jessica Robinson
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Jessica Robinson

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It's not often that you find a hummingbird with all the bells and whistles attached...this is one awesome album.

Saskatoon singer/songwriter Jessica Robinson teased us a couple of years ago with her single releases "Story of My Life"(2000) and "Sittin' On A Goldmine"(2001), both of which earned some heavy duty radio airplay at the national level. Finally, we get this marvelous debut album; and it lives up to everything promised in those earlier releases, which incidentally, are not included on this Steve Fox produced collection.

The album's lead single, "I'll Save My Prayers(For Bigger Things)", has been another radio hit for Jessica Robinson, and there's a lot more here that will follow suit. Most of the material has a strong, positive message theme, thanks to the intriguing songwriting, most of which comes from a combined effort by Robinson and Fox. They co-wrote seven of the songs on the album.

Several tunes stand out, with "Little Dirt Road" leading the way. This is a two-steppin', toe tappin' item, and it's co-written by Jessica Robinson with Nashville's Greg Becker who teamed with Robinson before on their "Story Of My Life" song. "Little Dirt Road", a semi-autobiographical story song, smells like a huge hit for the lady from Saskatoon who truly has the potential of being one of Canada's next big country music exports.

Other winners here come in the haunting 'lost love' song, "There's Something About Planes"; and the equally powerful "That's Where I'd Be", which sounds like it would also fit neatly on a Martina McBride album. The album's title track song "Hummingbird", is another positive message supported by a lilting melody; while "Smoke and Mirrors" is about the closest to a hardcore country hurtin' song that you will find on this collection.

The album also boasts a rare female version of the Dan Fogelberg classic "Leader of the Band", which Jessica Robinson dedicates here to her late father.

"Hummingbird" was produced by Steve Fox, and save for the closing song "Bridges Behind Me", which was tracked at Sound Edge Studios in Saskatoon(with Robinson showing off some of her own fiddle playing skills); the album was recorded in Nashville with A-Team players, mixed at The Warehouse in Vancouver(Bryan Adams' place) and mastered at The E-Room in Toronto...all of which provided the aforementioned "bells and whistles"...and one listen to the end product proves the point. - Larry Delaney - Country Music News - February 2005



Some people are loaded with a variety of talents…Jessica Robinson takes that to the extreme. Here’s a lady who has carved out a wonderful career in music – which is blossoming even as we speak – but music is only one segment of a quite fascinating life that she leads.

Take for example that Jessica Robinson is a certified scuba diver who has plied her craft in the water caves of Mexico and old naval sunken battleships, let alone the freezing lakes of her native Saskatchewan… and that she has worked as a flight attendant (surviving an engine flameout experience while on the job)….and take also the fact that Jessica Robinson is a music teacher, with an armful of accredited students…some of whom have gone on to their own career in Canadian music fields. Jessica is also a whiz at graphic arts – creating the artwork for her album and promotional material, a craft that has now put her services in demand, including the artwork on Steve Fox’s new Lunch With Chet CD.

None of the above however will match Jessica Robinson’s finest culinary achievement – she unabashedly claims to have created the ultimate delicacy:- a toasted cheddar cheese & raspberry sandwich !!

“What…you’ve never heard of combining jam and cheese in a toasted combo”, says Jessica. “I thought everyone was into that. They don’t know what they’re missing…of course, it’s got to be just the right flavor, texture and it all depends on how you spread it on the bread… there’s an art to creating the “perfect” sandwich.”

Jessica also possesses a sharp wit and sense of humour.
But it’s the music we are here to talk about…and there’s lots to talk about, since music has been part of her life since she was four years of age.


THE LITTLE DIRT ROAD

“My fondest childhood memories are surrounded by music” recalls Jessica. “My parents wanted to raise their family in the country…and boy did they go out in the country. We started out in a little log cabin at the end of a long dirt road…we had one bedroom to start with… they added some rooms as each year passed by, and it soon was our castle. Our main source of R&R was joining my dad on his guitar singing country songs around an outside campfire…we sang everything from Willie and Waylon to Anne Murray, to Dan Folgelberg… my dad loved Folgelberg’s Leader Of The Band song, and he played that role with our little family”.
It comes as little surprise that the one ‘cover’ song on Jessica Robinson’s just released debut album Hummingbird, is a ‘right on’ version of Leader Of The Band…and she dedicates her performance on the disc to her late father, Paul Robinson, who passed away a few years ago. He was 47. One of Jessica’s original songs on the album is entitled Little Dirt Road… the song tells “the story!!

Jessica attributes many of the talents she has been blessed with, to her parents. The music came largely from dad; her mother Simone was an art teacher, which has inspired Jessica’s work in graphic arts.

“Music has been with me since I was four years-old. I started playing violin when I was six – I was trained in Classical Violin. In 1988 I was named Fiddle Queen Champ in a Prince Albert Fiddle Fest. But all the while, I really wanted to be a singer…I used to sing in my bedroom…the thick logwood walls made it very private, and nobody knew I was practicing to be a singer. But when I turned 15 I got very adventurous …and I forged my parents’ signature on a contest form to compete in the Nintendo Vocal Mania …and I ended up in the Top Ten of 4,000 competitors. Mom and Dad were pretty upset about me going behind their back…but they told me they were proud of their daughter’s accomplishment as a singer.”


TALENT CONTEST WIN CREATES OPPORTUNITY

That breakthrough would later lead to Jessica winning the GX-94 (Yorkton) Contest, one of Saskatchewan’s most coveted Contests…and that win lead to exposure on radio, which eventually led to being ‘discovered’ in the big world of country music entertainment.
A Roland Music rep servicing the Saskatchewan music store circuit, brought Jessica’s vocal talents to the attention of Mike Clute, a noted Nashville producer (Michelle Wright, Diamond Rio, etc); and he invited Jessica to Nashville where he cut her first recordings The Story Of My Life and Sittin’ On A Goldmine. Although that “developmental deal” didn’t materialize into a major label signing, the releases to radio in Canada were an instant success with both tunes charting Top 20.

Soon, through a chance meeting with fellow Canadian Steve Fox at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, and then later when he hosted the Saskatchewan Country Music Awards where Jessica was performing (and winning awards), the pair began combining their musical chops, creating songs that would eventually make up Jessica’s first album, Hummingbird.

“For whatever reason, Steve and I seemed to be able to relate on all levels with our music…the very first song we wrote together was There’s Something About Planes… it ma - Larry Delaney-Country Music News-August 2005


Discography

Albums: Hummingbird, Whirl Swirl, Twirl
Singles: I'll Save My Prayers (For Bigger Things)
I Like This Place
Hummingbird
Little Dirt Road
Smoke and Mirrors
There It Is

Photos

Bio

Jessica Robinson truly exemplifies country music artistry. Her fresh, soulful sound and "out of the box" writing style have been met with praise from fans and industry alike. Such warm reception is great news for Jessica who has been building her musical identity since the ripe old age of four.

"Mom and Dad wanted to raise their family in the country and built their own cabin style home in the mid-seventies. We eventually added on but those early days were really something; our family shared one bedroom! Dad's favorite activity was to make a campfire outside and play his guitar while we sang John Prine and Dan Fogelberg tunes until the fire went out. I think those early experiences instilled a passion for music that exists in me today."

Jessica took up the violin at age six and studied throughout her school years. "In high school I dreamt about playing in a symphony" she says. "But at the same time I was practicing two hours a day I began to feel that something was missing ." Singing would eventually fill that void. "I had long been singing in my bedroom at night and never thought twice about it; I thought it was something everyone did."

After winning a talent search in her mid-teens Jessica recognized her true musical passion and she's never looked back since. A decade of performances later Jessica was working with Nashville producer, Michael D. Clute (Diamond Rio), and enjoyed the success of her first self-penned single release, Story of My Life. "We released 'Story' in Canada in spring 2000," Jessica replies, "and without heavy promotion or a video it finished in the top twenty in the country. I guess all those trips and writing sessions in Nashville were worth it! "

In 2004, Jessica finished writing and recording her first full length album "Hummingbird" produced in Nashville by Steve Fox. "I have been fortunate to write with some great Nashville writers along the way," she comments, "Guys like Arlos Smith who wrote John Michael Montgomery's #2 hit 'Home to You' and Rascal Flatts ‘Mayberry’ and country artist Mark McGuin (Mrs. Steven Rudy)." Jessica’s true song writing match came about with her producer/ co-writer, Steve Fox, and they’ve since written dozens of songs over the years together. In fact, eight of the eleven songs on the album were written by the pair.

While her love of writing is obvious, Jessica doesn't just stop at lyrics; she’s been working on new fiddle melodies and solos for her live performances as well. "The way I see it I don't have a choice. I "am" my music and I want to share everything that's musical in me with an audience; I don't think it gets any more real than that for me"

"Real" is exactly what Jessica is all about. Her father, who made his living as a social worker & life skills instructor, often combined his musical talent and instructional knowledge to inspire his students to put their dreams into songs. "It wasn’t until he passed away that I was able to understand his impact on the lives of those people.," she comments.

Jessica has aspired to continue his legacy in her own way by taking her music and her story into Canadian schools. She’s been met with resounding enthusiasm as she has, one by one, inspired kid’s of all ages to go after their dreams. Lindsay, from Lethbridge, explained the impact of Jessica’s presence on her,

" Lately I’d been feeling discouraged about life in general and Jessica’s talk helped me to remember the importance of my dreams and that I will have to face many challenges to live them. As I sat and listened to her I had tears in my eyes. Everything she said I could relate to. It was a rare opportunity to have someone like her visit our high school..."

Between her work with the schools and her commitment to both the Kinsmen Foundation and the United Way Jessica has had little time for leisure. But she claims that she doesn’t mind. " Making an album and promoting my career has been extremely exciting and fulfilling," she says, "however, my real hope in life is to use those opportunities and blessings to give something back."

In January 2006, Jessica met with a new challenge, motherhood. Not once, but twice as twin girls Eden and Emily were welcomed into the world.

With her heart of gold and velvet voice, Jessica Robinson is destined to be all that she hopes to be; an artist with a purpose and the dream to make it happen.

Awards and Nominations:

CCMA:

Independent Female Vocalist of the Year (2005 Nominee)

WCMA:

Outstanding Country Recording - Hummingbird (2005 Nominee)

SCMA:

Winner - 2008 Female Vocalist of the Year
Winner - 2008 Album of the Year - Whirl, Swirl, Twirl

Winner - 2007 Female Vocalist of the Year
Winner - 2007 Song of the Year (Hummingbird, co-written with Steve Fox)
Entertainer of the Year (2007 Nominee)
Single of the Year (2007 Nominee)
All Star Band - Fiddle (2007 Nominee)

Winner - 2006 Female Vocalist of the Year
Winner - 2006 Single of the Year (I Like Thi