Covid brings it back home for ‘Outsider’

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Jackie Bristow’s new album Outsider follows her experiences as a country musician from Gore travelling to new places.

Her first album in seven years, Outsider, is released this Friday.

Bristow said her career had taken her to Sydney, Los Angeles, Texas and Nashville before it finally brought her back to New Zealand.

“It’s a journey of going on your own and breaking into a new scene everywhere you go and then finding your people.

“You’ve got to live it to write it. I’ve really lived it, you know, meeting people, playing with people. Living in the different cultures .. and there’s different music out of those places, too.

“I understand it more now.”

She remembered hearing familiar songs on the radio when she first moved to the United States.

“They’re playing all these songs that we grew up singing,” she said.

She and her sister would sing together in Gore as the Bristow Sisters.

“We were singing Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson songs, Dolly.

“It’s just sort of what I always loved as a young girl, singing at the Gold Guitars and loving Crowded House.”

Gore was where her journey began and it was those experiences which formed the foundation for her new album.

She had been working on the album in the US, but Covid-19 drove her back to New Zealand where she finished it off.

“We had to then do everything remotely.

“It actually ended up in some ways some extra people came on to it that might not have because they would’ve normally been on the road touring.

“On a few of my songs I’ve got one of my favourite bands . . . called Darling West.”

The worldwide lockdown meant musicians she knew had more time and could collaborate with her.

“We just got all these amazing people. They weren’t on the road so they were able to play.

“In some ways, through the difficulties of everything, something special came out of it.”

This was represented well in Surrender, a favourite song of hers on the album.

“The song is just about going with the flow and what life gives you.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to go with it which is exactly what I’ve been doing recently. We all have.”

That philosophy had brought her to Queenstown where she was now running a songwriting programme for young people.

“It’s actually been awesome to be back. I’ve been homesick for years.”

It was good being close to her family in Gore, she said.

There were plans for a tour around New Zealand before she hoped to return to the US later this year.

Outsider is Bristow’s fifth album and is available to buy on her website.