Jesse Lafser’s New Album Brings Two Homes Together
Two and half years ago, Jesse Lafser released “Land in Sight” after a tumultuous time in her life where emotional struggles and illness had ruled for a time. Fast forward to 2015 and she is set to release her next album “Raised on the Plains,” whose songs were inspired by her treks out west in New Mexico during her tour for her last record.
When she weaves the stories encompassed in songs on this album, you feel as if you are with her during her travels. Like a picture postcard, you can see the breathtaking scenery change every few moments and then out of nowhere, a herd of buffalo appears roaming free to your left and on the right cascading mountains of red rock jutting up to the blue sky above.
According to Lafser, “this feels most like me of anything I’ve done so far.” If this is what feels most like her, the stories she tells in the songs she sings will make you feel like you’ve known her for years and maybe you were raised right there on the plains with her. The title song on the album “Jack Hat Blues” is, according to Lafser, the “song that feels like what whole record is about—ragged, jangly, wild and free.” ne listen and you’ll know you are in for a treat with the rich chronicles of Lafser’s life up to now intertwined in those narratives.
Not only did Lafser travel out west and pen these great tales, she has also had another great few years right here in Nashville. Lafser and her longtime girlfriend moved into a home together in East Nashville. Being an out lesbian has not hampered her career at all. Lafser said, “When it’s warm outside, it’s all musicians and artist, people just come over and play music and hang out on the porch.” Lafser also attributes being in East Nashville to her ease into being out in the music industry. In Lafser’s words, “It helps a lot, and it’s a more progressive community here. It may be different if I was in a different circle and town. I really love our neighborhood.” She goes on to say, “Now a days it’s sort of the like the whole gay artist thing just goes away. I think you can just be an artist without having that tag to it. I’m totally comfortable with it. I’ve been out for 10 years, I haven’t had any bad experiences even living in Nashville and the South.”
Like many out LGBT folks, Lafser has had her share of issues with her family. Lafser says, “I just have come to terms with the fact that my family may never accept me being a gay woman.” However with age sometimes comes the realization that while our family may not be as accepting as we’d like, there are consolations that can be made. “We still maintain relationship, and they are super nice to my girlfriend” according to Lafser. For her, having her family in her life has been for the best. Lafser also goes on to say, “They have their own beliefs, and I have mine, and they are different. You have to live in the tension. I tried for a while cutting them out and not talking to them but this is healthy for me.”
What’s next for Lafser? She’s embarking on a tour for her new album starting in Nashville at The Basement on April 25, 2015 and then trekking out west through Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and then ending in her hometown of St. Louis, MO on May 14, 2015. Her plan with this album is to “do things the right way, the way I wanted to put something out” according to Lafser. Getting a booking agent, getting a manager, finally having a publisher, touring as much as possible are what Lafser feels is the right way. Raised up right here in Nashville via the Plains would be the way to describe this talented songwriter/singer who is contributing to our community by bringing a bit more of the west to the South for our listening pleasure.
[Note: The print edition incorrectly listed Steven Bruns-Revell as the author of this piece - James Grady]