In the fall of 2011, my band and I spent a week at White Star Sound in Virginia with my friend and producer, Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams, R.E.M., PJ Olsson) and tracked a collection of songs I had been writing over the past two years. The songs on my fourth full-length studio album, Fading Light, were written for different reasons, but this particular collection is some of the most intense, emotional and personal work I've done to date.
I grew up in Rawley Springs, Virginia. Rawley Springs isn't a town -- just some cabins, trailers, and campsites in the mountains just east of the West Virginia state border. When I was a kid my uncle had October-fest parties. At one of these parties I remember this bluegrass band playing "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Seemed like the whole party was singing along. My mom gave me Music From Big Pink by The Band soon after. From there music became my obsession.
I started messing around with guitar when I was 3, but I wasn't really playing until 11 or so, and didn't start writing songs until around age 13. My first shows were open mic nights at local bars in Charlottesville, VA. I eventually moved to DC thinking it could be a good stepping-stone to New York. It was in DC where I recorded my first full album, Blue Dreams in 2004. I just went in with my acoustic guitar and sang for a couple hours and finished the same day.
For about 4 years following Blue Dreams, I found myself lost and addicted to drugs. I did manage to record an album in that four-year stretch, Love Verses Heroin - certainly not the feel good album of the year. When I recorded my third album in 2007, ...And I Am The Song of the Drunkards, I was clean and back to enjoying playing music. I formed a band and we just played for the fun of it. There were no expectations, just joy.
In 2010, I was the first artist signed to 9:30 Records in Washington, DC and released a collection of songs I called The Little Fox EP. Since that time, I have been fortunate to perform with Ray LaMontagne, K.D. Lang, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Drive-By Truckers and Badly Drawn Boy.
Seems no matter the struggles in life, I always come back to music. Fading Light is my reawakening.
"Canadian transplant and former jam band muse Serena Jean is a mighty fine country-rockin' gal. (She) doesn't waste time brawling under the roots tent about labels; the singer-songwriter's too busy vying for the crown of supreme artist on the come up... She and her cracking band will entice you to honky-tonk. This is the genuine hotness—with boots!" -The Village Voice
With the release of her debut album Town & Country, Serena Jean reaffirms her position at the forefront of the American roots music scene, where she has become one of the performers most popular with New York City audiences and most admired by her fellow musicians.
Serena Jean found her source of inspiration at the Honky Tonk Happy Hour, a recurring Sunday afternoon session that began at the NYC's The Living Room in May 2005. It was there that she cultivated her passion for country music. This was followed by a Saturday night residency at the National Underground where Serena Jean came into her own as band leader and front woman.
Serena Jean sings lead vocals, plays acoustic guitar, and composed all of the album's eleven songs, with the exception of "Voodoo Woman", written by the late great Chicago blues woman Koko Taylor. A stylistically diverse album, rich in sonic textures, Town & Country was produced by Jimi Zhivago, a member of the acclaimed roots-rock band Ollabelle, and recorded at the legendary Magic Shop in New York City.