Bio for Jenee
Heading into the studio to record her third release, Jenee Halstead arrived at an awkward conclusion: She needed to throw away all of her songs.
"I had been thinking a lot about the wild -- about instinct and intuition", Halstead says. "I knew that I wanted to capture these ideas on this album but I just wasn't sure how it would happen. Once I got to the studio and played through the songs, the answer seemed obvious."
Halstead decided to scrap all but two songs ("Building you an Altar", co-written with David Wax, and "Heart Song"). Ditching her trademark character sketches she started over, writing in first person and swapping her guitar for piano and ukulele. In ten days, she and Evan Brubaker (producer of Halstead's debut album, The River Grace) wrote and tracked nine new tunes, including "Rodeo of Sadness" and "Never Another", inspired by Elliot Smith's last moments. The result is Raised By Wolves -- Halstead’s most personal and ambitious recording thus far. "I am still surprised by it," Halstead says. "We just followed our instincts, just like I had hoped to. Even the songs like ‘River of Doubt’, that I would've normally considered 'dark' don't seem to feel that way because there is so much energy behind them."
With creative abandon, Raised By Wolves slams an old beat box into surf guitars, banjo, and ukulele; mixing a chorus of tenor guitars, handclaps, and synth bass. Drawing on influences like PJ Harvey and Kate Bush, multi-instrumentalist/producer Brubaker (Rachel Harrington & The Knockouts, Edie Carey) empties the musical space, giving all the attention to Halstead’s extraordinary voice. The twisted banjo of Danny Barnes, sly drumming of Joel Litwin, and nearly unrecognizable Dobro of Colby Sander help Raised By Wolves create a re-invigorated Dark Pop/Americana that surrounds Halstead’s vocals with a variety of surprises.
Halstead grew up in the high desert of Spokane, Washington, the daughter of hippie parents who let her find her own direction. She spent her childhood exploring her mother’s garden and singing along to records with her Dad. In middle school, she transformed into the rarest of birds; an athletic choir geek who sang medieval choral works, but loved Led Zeppelin and Dolly Parton. She wrote quietly on her own for years, moving from place to place – Spokane to Seattle to nowhere Alaska, before moving to Boston in 2007. She collected all of her songs into what would become The River Grace. Raised By Wolves reclaims the careless freedom of her childhood with a sense of wonder that is unique and fiercely engaging.