The snow storm that hit Columbus in early January forced the postponement of her show, but Jasmine Cain wanted to play and rescheduled the show for tonight at the Rumba Café.
“I wasn’t so worried about getting there in the daytime,” she said from Nashville, “but I was really worried about after the show at midnight or one o’clock… everyone filing out of the bar and trying to get somewhere.”
Currently a resident of Nashville, TN, she has received many awards, including the NIMA (Nashville Industry Music Awards) Best Live Rock Performers, and former Artist of the Year, Alternative Rock Band Nashville’s Music City Mayhem (MCMA) four-time Female Rock Vocalist, and she holds 8 JPF awards – the most awards ever to be awarded to any one artist from the JPF Association.
She also averages between 125-150 shows per year, making her a true road warrior. And if you enjoy a cup of coffee, you’ll be happy to find out she has her own brand of coffee in two flavors: Jasmine Cain’s Suicide Blonde and Jasmine Cain’s Coffin Coffee.
The Sturgis, SD native was raised on horses in the country, with country music and a dash of the blues thrown-in.
“I was raised on classic country, you know… the country outlaws. Growing up with three brothers, my dad was going to make sure there were no weaklings in the family. So, the competitive spirit runs pretty deep within me. At age 13, I moved away from home. I was making enough money in the band to pay my rent in town (she lived 40 miles away from the nearest town).”
She’s made a name for herself with her high-energy, high-octane shows that embrace the culture of being on the road. But, what opened her eyes to the world of rock and roll?
“Growing up on the ranch, my parents didn’t really allow us to stray too far musically. So, my brother bought me my first cassette for Christmas. It was Aerosmith’s “Pump.” My mom took one look at the cover and it went straight into the burn barrel. I never really got to listen to it. So, he bought me another cassette the next Christmas, and it was Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet.
“I then heard Joan Jett’s I hate Myself For Loving You, and that was it. That was when I knew I wanted to be a rocker.”
She was the house band for the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis during the annual bike week in 2003, due to the energy of her live shows. Her first album hit fans in 2004 (The Inside), but “Locks & Keys” (2008) encompassed a harder edge, while showing more lyrical depth as she matured. In short, she was still finding her way as a songwriter.
“Oh, absolutely! On my first album, I hadn’t had a whole lot of encouragement from the people around me to be a writer. So, I didn’t have the confidence to be a strong writer. But on this album, people are either going to ‘get it’ or they’re not. That was my thinking at the time.”
It was on “Highway Prophet” (2011) that she truly found the sound that she was comfortable with. This coincided with writing a song for a t.v. show.
“I thought it was much more mainstream,” she said of the album. “That album (Highway Prophet) started because that song was written for the television show ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ When I was told I needed continuity, I was like ‘well, how about a bunch of road songs?’ It’s not necessarily a biker album; it’s a road album. It’s about the transient lifestyle and whatever keeps you mobile.
“There are a lot of things you think about on the road. A lot of what you figure out about your life and the lessons that you learn from random strangers you come across. We’re learning the lessons by looking out of our windshield.”
It was at this point that she showed a maturity in her songwriting that stands up to anything being played nationally, although she’s not received the recognition that she richly deserves yet. She realized that it wasn’t all about her anymore, and that there were bigger things going on around her.
“I felt like my songwriting had matured to a really great spot by the time I got to that record. It was no longer this super-dramatic, self-absorbed pain that I was going through anymore. I’d already lived that by getting my ass kicked, getting up, getting my ass kicked again and, once again getting up.
“I finally realized that the days of people making me second-guess myself were over. I didn’t have to wear this like a badge anymore.”
Her latest studio album, “White Noise” (2015) is much more polished, yet still retains that raw edge that her live shows carry. She kicks your ass and leaves you worn out from the adrenaline that courses through your aural synapse after listening to it.
“The one thing I wanted to do with that album was… people love our live show. I wanted ‘White Noise’ to be the most indicative of our live shows. Everything I had in mind with that album was if you got up on stage and you’re going to kick everybody’s ass… how would you start this song? It was about capturing that energy and I wanted people to see that.”
In this writer’s humble opinion, she captured that feeling succinctly. She’s in the process of recording the follow-up to “White Noise”, with no set release date confirmed yet.
“We went into the studio on February 26. I’m trying to see where I’m at in my own life and I’m also dealing with the energy of the outside world. I’m finding that I’m affected more than I thought I would be by humanity, because it’s kind of depressing right now about how we treat each other.”
Cognizant of the world around her, she said the new album might piss a few people off with the real message she is attempting to convey. It will force one to confront how they see and treat the people in their own lives.
“What I’m trying to do with this new album is bring people back together; back to their center and stop putting labels on each other. No one is just one thing. We’re complex individuals. Through social media, etc., we’re being taught to feel this way and to judge. And, it’s so wrong.”
Ms. Cain is, in a word, real. She doesn’t sugarcoat how she feels about things but wants to do her part to try and make the world a little bit better. While this may seem trite to some, it should be considered a noble effort. We could all learn something from her.
“I want people to be truthful. I want them to not give up and try harder. Take a second look at something and try not to judge it so harshly.”
Jasmine Cain – Highway Prophet