The best female country singers sound sassy and come across as being high maintenance. In both senses LA based Jaime Wyatt hits the mark.
She got her first record deal at 17 but what seemed like a lucky break subsequently proved to be a false start. Thereafter, things went seriously pear shaped when she developed a drug habit and spent eight months in jail after robbing her dealer.
She sings from the bitter experience of feeling like a "branded woman" struggling to go straight. "I wanna wake up somewhere where you don't have the lose" she sings in the punchy opener, Wishing Well.
Giving Back The Best Of Me is the most complex song lyrically with the image of having "a brand new windshield on a broken down car" suggesting she's a woman who is fully aware of her failings but determined to meet the challenges life throws at her.
There are just seven songs, briskly delivered by Wyatt and her efficient backing band in half an hour.
The record's title is a reference to convict love stories or prison songs found in outlaw country albums such as Penitentiary Blues by David Allan Coe. Under this theme, Stone Hotel deals with the background to her conviction and is one of two prison related songs, the other being Wasco which was inspired by one of Wyatt's cellmates.
Otherwise, love provides a mixture of consolation and heartache. In Your Loving Saves Me, featuring Sam Outlaw, she puts greater faith in a human partner than Jesus while From Outer Space is about the difficulty of maintaining a relationship while out touring.
The modest collection concludes with Misery And Gin is a cover of a song which John Durrill wrote for Merle Haggard about "looking at the world in the bottom of a glass".
This track rounds off a record that shows Wyatt to be an artist with a voice that has a vintage charm and an unmistakably contemporary resonance.
Jaime Wyatt's website