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A Nashville duo rocks

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

Jaden South is the epitome of grassroots indie. With no manager, major label backing or public relations head, they managed to snag Grammy winner David Leonard – who has produced albums for the likes of Paul McCartney, Prince, Rush and the Indigo Girls – to engineer, mix and produce their debut album, “Leading the Horse.”

Jaden South is a folksy, rocking Nashville-based duo comprised of Jessica Draper and Deborah DeLoach. After both earning recording industry degrees in Nashville and completing internships in the industry, they moved to New York City for two years to perform and work in artist management and music archiving, respectively.

Last year, they returned to Nashville to record with Leonard, whom DeLoach had befriended during an internship at a Nashville studio.

Jaden South’s music starts from a singer-songwriter’s perspective, but its backbone of influence is a little heavier, with influences ranging from Led Zepplin and Fleetwood Mac to Neil Young and the Beatles.

“We just try to write from an honest place,” Draper said. “It’s all real-life experience – all things close to our heart.”

The album’s 10 diverse tracks fuse intense guitar playing and touches of piano, organ and cello with rootsy, rich vocals and harmonies. Themes hit upon leaving a demised relationship, discovering one’s identity and overcoming an eating disorder.

“These songs are stories that characterize a few years of wide-ranging, rollercoaster experiences,” Draper said. “There’s nothing muted, edited or withheld; rawness and authenticity was the focus.”

Taking in various songwriters and performers in Nashville helps keep the women inspired, and part of Nashville’s tradition of collaborative songwriting has rubbed off on them. Whereas three years ago, when they first began performing together, Draper wrote most of the songs, now they write together, as a pair, often road-testing songs while on tour before committing them to an album, DeLoach said.

“Honesty is a centripetal force in our songwriting,” Draper said, “and I hope people find substance in our sincerity.”


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