Turning fifty was both beautiful and tragic…okay maybe light on the pretty and heavy on enlightening. I’ve learned to push the term “icon” as opposed to that “older guy” LOL.
As an artist and song-writer I do feel young. I feel I’m writing the best songs of my career, and now it’s up to me find the ears to hear it. “Let’s Get Our Forget On” is the first release from my new CD due out this fall 2012. I’ve often been on the edge of Country music and occasionally in the center of it. I’m ready to wade into the middle again…not because I’ve changed, but the stream has widened and shifted slightly. But what the heck, I hear life begins at 50.
Jamie lives in Kitchener-Waterloo, but was raised in Hanover Ontario, where he pursued an adolescent dream of playing hockey professionally in the NHL, with music as a background distraction. When he realized that his natural abilities for singing and playing guitar might make it easier to attract the attention of girls, he hung up his blades. It was a logical progression for a sensitive guy who wrote poetry and short stories throughout his high school years.
His interest in music was likely genetic, since his mother sang and played piano, and his father played guitar and mandolin. Jamie had piano lessons at age 5 and guitar lessons at age 8, and by the time he was 10 years old, it was traditional for the Warrens to entertain after Saturday night euchre games (a Canadian card-game institution) in their smoke-filled basement. His earliest influences were whatever his parents listened to on the radio, and the only thing his parent’s radio seemed to play was country music. To this day, he’s still a huge fan of Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline. Later, in high school, his best friend’s older brother’s record collection exposed him to celebrated vocal groups like The Eagles, America, Poco and CSNY. Lately, he feels an affinity for Texas singer-songwriters like Radney Foster, Lyle Lovett and Rodney Crowell.
Attending Conestoga College to study Broadcasting, Jamie’s goal was to become the youngest general manager of a mid-market radio station, but he emerged with a desire to sing for a living. What changed his mind? Jamie won a regional talent show at London Ontario’s Western Fair, which sent him to Memphis Tennessee for an international competition, where he placed second. Jamie remained in Memphis, pondering his career potential as a singer while he worked a one-year gig at Libertyland Theme Park. He still feels a connection to the city that started it all for him, thinking of Memphis like a gentle woman who taught him how to love.
Returning to Canada, he began an association with producer J. Richard Hutt, who produced “Right Here Right Now” and all of Jamie’s previous recordings, but who initially engaged Jamie as a singer for jingles he produced out of his Kitchener-based Cedartree Studios. “I didn’t have a clue what I was doing” says Jamie, “but Rick had a lot of patience”. He must have learned something from the experience, because his first Top Ten hit came shortly thereafter, with “Take Me Home Mississippi” and subsequently, a win as New Artist of The Year at the 1985 RPM Big Country Awards.
Five more singles were released from that album but Jamie’s particular style of country didn’t sit well with either ‘80’s country radio or the Nashville labels he almost convinced to sign him (they passed on Jamie in favour of a fellow named Randy Travis). In the interim, he got married and had two kids, playing locally in small clubs to pay the bills.
In 1993, Jamie was convinced that both radio and Nashville might have relaxed enough to make room for him again, and he released “Fallen Angel” on River North/Mercury Records, which yielded an enduring fan favourite and radio hit, “One Step Back”. The success of this record was followed closely and even more impressively, by the album “Just Not The Same”, which surrendered several Top Ten singles and led to a handful of JUNO and CCMA nominations in multiple categories including wins for Independent Song of the Year and Independent Male Artist of the Year. Since then, Jamie released the critically acclaimed “Really” in 2003, and a career retrospective collection of greatest hits in 2005 under the title “Make Me Believe”. In 2008, Jamie released the very personal “Right Here Right Now”.
The CD was a frank and personal reflection on Jamie’s life and experiences, like a man having a conversation with himself in the mirror. Maybe the big questions don’t all yield answers; maybe you only learn enough to write a song about it. In 2010 he released “Howl At The Moon”, and as a writer he continued to ask hard questions, but this time with a kinder tone as he closed in on turning 50. At this point in Jamie’s career maybe prolific would be an appropriate adjective. This new CD will be his 3rd release in less than 6 years. It is yet untitled but will be released in Nov 2012. Jamie is 51 now and just getting started….
By "Brian Brant"
And now as they say "The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree" Jamie now has his children Katy and Josh making and writing tunes and recording the tracks. I'm sure that their dad had some influence on them for sure. You can find the tunes that Katy and her Dad Jamie recorded on www.crapradio.net along with possibly even some new stuff from Jamie's latest “Let’s Get Our Forget On” and Katie's new recording track "Tired".
Josh is not to far behind his dad and sister's influence and very soon he'll be punching out his own stuff,stay tuned and tune in to www.crapradio.net to request some songs by Jamie and Katy maybe even Josh.