Jenni Jamison of JamisonPriest Interview by Allison Robertson, President
Originally a duo, forming in 1998, JamisonPriest was composed of Ed Priest, rhythm guitar and vocals, and Jenni Jamison, guitar and vocals. In 2002, the duo became a trio with the addition of Cole Bennett on bass and vocals. Their folk music has been gracing Abilene venues from Mezamiz to The Mill to Play Faire Park with messages that “make you think” and “feel something” but also entertain and make a connection with the audience.
Jenni’s musical journey began when she was young. She developed her singing talent growing up in Church of Christ, where she learned to sing harmonies and acapella music. She grew up in the 1980s with influences like The Eurythmics and Heart and later discovered rock music from the 60s and 70s. Other musical influences for Jenni include Lyle Lovett, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Natalie Merchant, Michael Jackson, Alison Krauss, Cyndi Lauper, John Prine, and Brandi Carlile Her love of folk music came about when she was introduced to the work of Nanci Griffith in 1990.
The song Jenni is most proud of is their song “Sideways Theologian” on their album Garfield Avenue which is about “the human condition” and “everything we struggle with” states Jamison. The human struggle is easily identified in the words that many of us have thought and have felt at one point or another: “So he always looks for a reason just to get up in the morning/Conquering the angel in his sleep/What about this grace he hears of pulling toward a higher light/Pulling out of the weight of mediocrity.”
Outside of music, Jenni also has talents in the world of health. She was an associate psychologist at Abilene State Supported Living Center for 20 years and then became a physician assistant and worked for the Center as a PA for 7 years. She now teaches physician assistant classes at Hardin-Simmons University. Although the medical world may not crossover much into her musical world, she says collaboratively they have similarities. “Medicine is science driven but there is art in it too. You work with patients and get to know their goals and their story and then decide together what treatment plan works for them.”
JamisonPriest recently recorded 2 songs with their longtime producer, Brandon Carr, that they are considering releasing as just singles, instead of as an album. In the digital age, an album as a “collection of songs that have a theme” is a dying art, Jamison states. They may also release a Christmas album. Jenni also performs with Chorus Abilene and will be performing a show with them April 1st at First Baptist Church at 7pm. They will be performing Hadyn’s Mass in D Minor. Chorus Abilene has several other events coming up including a fundraiser in May called “Encore!” and will be touring Poland and Germany in June.
For More Info on Jamison Priest, check out their website and Facebook page.