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Live Review: Jaime Wyatt w/ Cody Christian @ The Atlantis — 6/18/24

Good things come to those wait. The audience at Jaime Wyatt’s recent show show at The Atlantis had been waiting months to see her, after she was forced to reschedule her appearance this past February. But it was an evening worth waiting for, as the modern-day outlaw delivered with excellent songs in her rocked-up, twangy sound.

Even if weren’t for her unique personal story, Jaime would be identified as a descendant of the outlaw country movement of the ’70s by her music and songwriting. But the path her life has followed certainly contributes to that perception. The child of musicians, she grew up in Tacoma, Washington, listening to a mix of rock and country, and she started playing coffeehouses at the age of 12. When she was 17, in the early Oughts, she moved to California, where she was signed to her first record deal and placed songs on several film soundtracks.

That first record deal didn’t pan out, nor did a second one. Meanwhile, Wyatt’s addictions grew deeper, and she was arrested for robbing her dealer. She spent eight months jail before being released on a plea deal with time served. This experience influenced the title of her first record, 2017’s Felony Blues, a play on David Allan Coe’s Penitentiary Blues. These influences come through in some of her songs, like “Fugitive,” which appears on her latest album.

Having gotten sober, Jaime signed with the esteemed label New West, which is home to a number of the biggest names in Americana and alt-country, legendary songwriters like Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and John Hiatt. In 2020, New West released her second album, Neon Cross, as well as last year’s Feel Good. On June 18 at The Atlantis, Wyatt opened with the title cut, followed by “Back To The Country.” She dedicated the next song, “Love Is A Place,” to an acquaintance — Anne — who was celebrating her birthday at the show. 

Watch Jaime Wyatt perform “Love Is A Place” live for The SoCal Sound on YouTube:

Referencing her dark sunglasses, Jaime told the audience she’s kind of shy, which is surprisingly common among musicians. I’m led to understand that Dwight Yoakam is actually quite shy, and uses his signature white hat in much the same way. It’s a strange thing, that so many people whose livelihoods depending on performing in front of crowds turn out to be shy individuals. 

The set continued with “Jukebox Holiday,” “Goodbye Queen,” “Rattlesnake Girl,” “Fugitive,” “Althea,” and “Mercy.” After “Mercy,” the band took a break, and Jaime played “Givin’ Back The Best of Me” solo. She explained that she wrote the song after getting sober, about how “there’s life afterwards.” The band came back, and the set wrapped up with “Where the Damned Only Go” and “World Worth Keeping.” For her encore, Jaime sent the audience home with “Neon Cross.”

Things kicked off with an excellent opening set by Richmond area singer-songwriter Cody Christian. Cody’s voice and soulfulness, which has roots in his upbringing in the church and gospel music, reminded me of Chris Stapleton. He had great songs, well written, observant, that showed a strong social consciousness. The first one I caught was “Canary In A Coal Mine.”

Cody gave the audience a choice of topics, one of which was a dog song, and I called out, “Does the dog die?” “Not in the song,” he replied. “Dream, Holler, Chase” was about his childhood dog Radar, so named for the way his tail would spin around. He introduced “Wife and Kids,” which is about not wanting either, as “my mom’s favorite song.” “Why’d It Have To Rain Today,” he said, is “about making excuses.” I’m pretty sure there was another song before the last one, but, folks, I’m dyslexic, and sometimes my notes are a little hard to read. Cody finished up with “Too Stoned In The City,” which is “all about the 804,” a highway that runs near his home.

Cody was new to me, and was a welcome surprise. I’ve known about Jaime for years, though, so it wasn’t a surprise to me that she tore things up with a dynamite performance.

Visit Jaime Wyatt online for more music and tourdates!