Jamie Lin Wilson and her Balancing Act
D’HANIS, TX- If you follow Jamie Lin Wilson on social media you’ll notice she finds a way to have it all, from being a real housewife of her small town D’hanis with her signature hashtag, to traveling all over the world sharing her songs. I caught up with the busy songwriter for a phone interview recently, catching her on her travels to Dallas for a weekend tribute to Guy Clark where she played with The Trisha’s.
Wilson started her musical career in a band called The Gougers in College Station Texas during her college years, but she stumbled upon it accidentally, without any intentions of being a musician at all.
“I went to college in Texas A&M, I think I was a sophomore and I got a guitar for Christmas. I started playing just for myself and messing around and then I figured out that there was this little scene happening in College Station,” explained Wilson. “There were a couple songwriter nights that went on and I was kind of in a transition in my life where I had been dating this guy and we broke up and I needed to find a set of new friends. So I kind of just fell into this group, and it was kind of a thing that I never really know existed before. I had never hung out with musicians, I'd never hung out with songwriters. I was a jock in high school. I hung out with athletes or the nerds, like I was a jock and I was a nerd. I never even thought of that and then all of a sudden I found these people and I was like wait I’m not like that I'm like this, or maybe I’m both, but cool.”
Wilson started singing at the songwriter night there in town where she met Shane Walker, who had the band The Gouger’s. He told Wilson they needed a girl in the band and asked if she was interested and she was. They played almost every night in College Station at the time, they put out an album and an EP and it lasted for seven years before it ran its course as a band, but that didn’t stop Wilson from continuing to pursue music.
“I started getting serious about songwriting and then I just never stopped. It just happened, not something that I thought all my life ‘I’m going to be a songwriter, I'm going to play music and be in a band’ like that. It was never even a thought in my head until it actually happened and then I just never stopped,” Wilson said with a chuckle. “I found something that I can do where it makes me feel good. I found what I love and figured out how to make money on it, which is what you're supposed to do with your life. It lets me travel and it lets me meet cool people.”
After the Gouger’s disbanded Wilson recorded her own EP, Dirty Blonde Hair in 2010.
“I recorded like six songs, I never really did anything with them except for have them because I wanted them. I wanted to do it and I saw the Trisha's were forming, I could tell it was going to happen so I wanted to get the songs down before that, like this is me before I go from one band to another, this is what I sound like,” explained Wilson.
The Trisha’s did happen, they formed in 2010 and blazed a trail throughout the Texas music scene, and beyond. They recorded an EP They Call Us the Trisha’s in 2010 and a full length album High, Wide and Handsome in 2012. The band toured all over the place and all of the ladies made their mark with it. They get together for a few gigs a year still, but like the Gouger’s it just ran its course and it was time for Wilson to do something on her own once again.
Wilson released Holidays & Wedding Rings in 2015, her first full length album. It’s filled with a fantastic assortment of songs about real life, ones most everyone can relate to and find truth and meaning in.
“That’s the easiest thing is to write what you know, so that’s what I did. Occasionally I can do a third person thing, like a story song, but the majority of my songs come from something that either happened to me or happened to somebody that I'm close to,” said Wilson.
Wilson stays quite busy with her music; She played Medicine Stone in September, just recently got back from a tour around Europe with Sunny Sweeny, made a quick jaunt to Nashville to play with former singer of Sixpence None the Richer Leigh Nash at the Blue Bird Café, and played the two day Guy Clark tribute show in Dallas last weekend with the Trisha’s. Watching her on social media she makes it look rather easy balancing that with her home life which consists of her husband Roy and their three children ages 6,3 and 2.
“The thing is that it seems like I have a good balance but it's a constant struggle for balance. That's the thing and I was actually supposed to be off all of October after I got back from Europe because that was my plan that I worked out with my husband,” said Wilson. “That I would go out in blocks, go out for a week and then stay home for a week or two and go out for week, rather than doing the weekend warrior so that I do get that home time for a little bit of routine. So I can participate, so I can have weekends with the kids instead of just only getting the early parts of the weekdays or whatever, because those Sunday afternoons are where memories are made. So I was supposed to have the rest of October but all of these things just kept coming up that were just awesome that I couldn't turn down.”
Wilson praises her husband and close knit family and town for their unwavering support and help with her family that allows her to travel and do what she does without worrying that her kids are missing out on anything in the process. Not only do they have both grandmas close at hand ready to spoil the kids rotten, but the town they live in offers a great amount of support with the small town mentality of everyone helps everyone out. D’hanis has approximately 600 people, and Wilson says everyone really does love everyone and always jumps in to help one another.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this otherwise, I just don't know how I would do it. A lot of times I bring kids with me, like I'll bring a nanny with me or have people that watch kids in every town,” said Wilson with a hearty laugh. “I've done that for the past five years, I’m like okay I’m coming to town can you watch the baby while I'm playing? We just make it work.”
Wilson does appear to make it work, you can catch her making homemade yogurt and building Halloween signs on Instagram during her times at home. She talked at length about a giant Halloween party her and a couple of friends did last year and are working on again this year. They went and got about thirty empty washer and dryer boxes from a local store and created a haunted tunnel, among other entertaining things. Wilson also has a pet llama, who was cleverly named ‘Como Se’. She has a great sense of humor and a genuine and vivacious laugh. Wilson thoroughly enjoys her home life and getting to have the best of both worlds.
“We keep talking about having another one, a baby, because we always said we wanted four, but now I think that the baby is almost out of diapers and do I really want to go through the having to nurse part where I always take teeny tiny babies into bars? I’d be like, ‘I can play but like I have to nurse right now and then immediately get on stage and I HAVE to get off the stage in two hours’,” Wilson says with another big laugh. “That's the thing I'm not sure I really want to go through all that again. Roy grew up with three kids, I grew up with four, so we've always been between three and four because that's just what's natural to us, to have what you know. I mean if I didn't do this for a job I'd have eight of them. I love it. Like if I could stay home all the time, just run around kids to soccer practice and stuff, I would. I love being pregnant, I love having babies but at this point I told Roy if we have another baby it's just me being selfish because I like being pregnan.t I like having kids but then I'm like okay cool, I’ll have this baby and then maybe you should keep it and take care of it while I go play music.”
Wilson has a great head on her shoulders and a realistic view about life in general that definitely comes through in her songs. She says she is currently writing, but will also focus on it a lot more early next year and see if she can turn those songs into another album. It doesn’t look like she will get much of a break until then to do so. Wilson has a handful of shows throughout Texas for the next couple weeks and then she is going on a run with Courtney Patton to the Northeast, including shows in Delaware, Maryland and New York in mid November. December 9th starts her Hard Candy Christmas Tour with Sunny Sweeny, Courtney Patton and Brennen Leigh. They will have two stops in Oklahoma for this tour, December 10th at Blackbird on Pearl in Tulsa and ending the whole tour at The Blue Door in OKC on December 18th.
“That Blue Door show is going to be ridiculous because by the end, with like 12 shows or something and that's the very last one, so by the end of it we’re going to have all of our show worked out. We’ll have worked out all of the jokes that we think are funny, probably have a lot of costumes by then and a lot of decorations, a lot of inside jokes that will alienate the crowd,” laughed Wilson.
After that Wilson will be going to the Music Fest in Steamboat and to the Red River Songwriter’s Festival in New Mexico, both in January. Our own Oklahoma “golden boy” John Fullbright joins Wilson at the Red River Festival, and Wilson said they have been in touch about maybe booking a few gigs together on the ride out there, which would be a fun collaboration.
“He and I have been texting back and forth lately about making a touring thing out of it. He will be driving from Oklahoma and I'll be driving from South Texas, so figuring out where we can go meet and play a couple shows before, maybe Lubbock. I need to draw a couple of straight lines from Okemah and from here and just see where they meet. Logistics. My whole life is just logistics.” Said Wilson.
That leaves life slowing back down just a bit in February, when maybe she can stop and catch her breath for a minute.
“I know that next year I really can work on writing a lot starting in February. I mean I'm still writing all along but I'm going to try to focus on writing and less on playing a whole lot, less touring, but at the same time trying to stay out a little bit and trying to stay relevant. That's the balance you know.”
Be sure to look Wilson up on all of her social media sites when you can keep up with her #Realhousewivesofdhanis capers as well as her hectic touring schedules. You can also find more information on her website at www.jamielinwilson.com