Jane Kramer | Break & Bloom

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Folk: Appalachian Folk Folk: like Joni Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Break & Bloom

by Jane Kramer

A stunning debut album from an artist who endears herself to us early on with her unforgettably sweet and emotive voice, her eloquent honesty, and with songs that quickly begin to feel like old companions. A must-hear for 2013.
Genre: Folk: Appalachian Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Georgia
4:06 $0.99
2. The Devil Don't Want
5:15 $0.99
3. Nobody's Woman Tonight
3:53 $0.99
4. Hold My Whiskey
3:44 $0.99
5. That Muddy Water
4:34 $0.99
6. Mourning Dove
5:32 $0.99
7. Red Balloon
4:01 $0.99
8. Any Way You Like, Child
4:24 $0.99
9. One Precious Life
4:09 $0.99
10. Plant Me a Willow Tree
2:49 $0.99
11. How Far Am I from Canaan
2:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Jane Kramer's first solo album, 'Break & Bloom', is intriguing, poetic and powerful. She is a gifted songwriter with a voice to match."
- Muriel Anderson, Acclaimed American Guitarist and Composer

Sometimes the title singer/songwriter conjures up the notion of coffee house background music or lyrics one could take or leave, set to acoustic guitar. With her unforgettably sweet yet hauntingly emotive voice, her intricately poetic lyrics and timeless melodies, Portland, Oregon-based, (long-time North Carolina-dwelling) artist Jane Kramer brings a fresh and distinctive take on the genre. Her soulful songs, drawing deeply from the roots of American folk tradition, are compelling stories—raw and honest—that are powerfully intimate and stay with you. In love with words and with an arsenal of fraying notebooks full of poetry and melodies in her head, Jane wrote her first song at age seventeen and recorded her first full-length demo of 16 original songs at age nineteen. “I have always been fascinated with and deeply affected by the beauty and the heartbreak of our human experience,” Jane explains. “My songs are about living and loving in a complicated world as an imperfect being. I feel like I’ve succeeded if I can make a very personal experience translate as universally relateable.”

Jane was deeply influenced by the unforgettable voices and stylistic grace of such artists as Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Patty Griffin, Guy Clark, Natalie Merchant and Emmylou Harris. She also credits her grandfather, David Madison, a violin prodigy and first chair violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra for 51 years as a driving force in her musical upbringing. Although he passed away when Jane was only twelve, she firmly remembers “…the powerful dedication, conviction and humility behind his playing; the way he’d call his violin his ‘fiddle’ even though he performed in a tuxedo with the orchestra and played Handel and Beethoven, and the way he built his life on and through music, with reverence and sacrifice, much discipline and great joy.” Jane channeled these influences and became her own best music teacher. One time hearing her chill-inducing, signature yodel-like flick between her lower register and bell-like falsetto will make you a believer. “I taught myself to do that listening to a very careful combination of Hank Williams Senior, Patsy Cline and Sinead O’Conner at around 16 years old,” she explains.

Born in Valley Forge, PA in 1980 to a musically inclined family, Jane will tell you very frankly “I’ve never had a singing lesson, but can’t remember back to a time when I wasn’t singing.” Jane’s mother Debbie sang to her constantly as a child. According to Jane, “Even though she, too, was completely untrained, she has such a sweet voice and perfect pitch. She can spontaneously harmonize with any tune she hears and taught me to sing harmonies by ear, listening to Bob Dylan and the Everly Brothers when she drove me to school every morning. She would challenge me to sing something other than the melody—like the instrumental parts or to harmonize over-top her harmony. It was the best music class ever.” Always in a hurry to catch up to her older sister Carrie who played the piano when they were young girls, Jane trained her ear by sitting down to pick out melodies on the keys with her right hand, and used her left hand to find and play the harmonies. In much the same way, she easily picked up the silver flute, taught herself to read music and played in a youth chamber ensemble. Jane’s father, David, a classically trained guitarist, always found time to practice guitar late at night after grueling days at the office, and gave Jane her first guitar at age seventeen along with showing her a few basic chord structures. Jane remarks that his reverence for and dedication to the music he plays continues to be deeply inspiring to her. While he may not be hitting the road with her any time soon, Jane insists, “He’s my favorite accompanist. We do a stellar version of Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Guilty’ that I aim to record with him someday.”

Jane attended college in Asheville, NC where she earned a degree in Social Work and became a founding member, songwriter, guitarist, flautist and anchor voice of The Barrel House Mamas, a regionally beloved female folk quartet from 2003 to 2009 who were regulars on the lineup at important music festivals and venues across the southeastern US. While on the road, Jane’s angelic voice and memorable songs garnered her attention from such names as Melissa Ferrick and acclaimed songwriter and performer, Malcolm Holcombe. At just nineteen years old, Jane was playing her guitar and singing on a street corner in Provincetown Cape Cod when a captivated Melissa Ferrick approached, sat and listened to four or five songs and then asked Jane personally to open for her in a Philadelphia performance. Several years later, Malcolm Holcombe overheard Jane rehearsing a cover of his song “A Far Cry from Here” backstage at a benefit concert they were both on the bill for, and approached her asking if she’d like to sing it with him in his set that day. Jane identifies this as a defining moment in her career, saying, “He is one of my songwriting heroes, and I hadn’t even meant for him to hear me—I was just messing around. What an honor. Then we got on stage and he didn’t sing a lick—just accompanied me with his killer finger-style guitar and I sang the whole tune. It was surreal and beautiful.”

Jane moved to Portland, Oregon two years ago, where she has been writing, performing and recording. Her debut solo release, Break and Bloom, recorded and engineered at New North Sound and mastered by Sound Lab Studios in Asheville, NC, was released on July 26, 2013, (an accompanying music video for a track on the album, “The Devil Don’t Want" was released on May 3rd). The album is comprised of ten original songs and one cover—the riveting gospel tune, "How Far am I from Canaan”, and includes the sultry, summer night longing of classic country-influenced “Georgia” (accented with David Jacobs-Strain’s dead-on slide guitar), as well as the spectacularly heartbreaking piano ballad “The Devil Don’t Want”. The redemptive, bittersweet and rebellious post-breakup anthem “Nobody’s Woman Tonight” will have everyone who has ever lost a love singing it’s refrain. In “Mourning Dove”, Jane reflects on a close friend’s suicide; a raw and moving re-interpretation of a song she had written for him years ago. While the songs are stylistically diverse, Jane's heartrending voice and performances tie them together into a beautiful and cohesive expression of vulnerability and the heart's capacity for loss and healing.

Favoring simple, tasteful arrangements, pared-down production that allows the songs themselves and Jane’s spot-on vocals to shine, some of Portland’s most talented musicians back Jane’s beautifully unpretentious folk guitar lines. Featuring Foster Haney of Bitterroot Portland on banjo, harmonica and backing vocals, Tim Ribner of Max Ribner Band on piano, Steve Foster of De La Warr on drums and Sam Howard of Ruth Moody Band on upright bass, to name a few, Break and Bloom serves as a stunning debut release from this promising artist who endears herself to us early on with eloquent honesty and songs that quickly begin to feel like old companions. With a start this solid, it’s easy to picture Jane in her “famous brown boots” walking the winding dirt road to recognition as a beloved songwriter and performer in the folk and Americana genres.



to write a review

Jeff Hutchins from Black Mountain, NC

A Masterpiece from a Gifted Singer/Songwriter
"Break and Bloom" is amazing. Powerful. Beautiful. The best album I've heard in years.

The strangest tragedy in American history occurred on January 15, 1919, when 21 people in Boston were killed after a storage tank full of molasses exploded. If you ever wondered what it might be like to drown in molasses, listen to Jane Kramer’s extraordinary voice and sticky-sweet songs on “Break and Bloom,” her first solo release.

Give me a great storytelling lyric set to a catchy melody, some minor chords, and a voice that floats on water, and I'm hooked.

“I’ve spent dark, dark nights in this soul of mine,” Jane sings in a voice that is equal parts molasses and bittersweet chocolate. And she means to shine a light in every corner of that dark night’s gloom, partly to reveal what’s been hidden and partly to chase away the monsters under that bed.

Will a fickle listening audience discover her? They should; these songs are gut-wrenchingly good. Not only do the beautiful tunes and Jane’s brilliant voice bring out the pure raw emotions of the lyrics, but the entire production grabs me by the heart and shakes me. Any person in the world who has an ounce of compassion will instantly fall in love with Jane.

Take the song "Georgia." I don't have to know anything about Jane’s personal history to get a feel for it here. "I can't be nobody's missus... and I can't be in Carolina... I lost my band back there in Asheville." Songwriting does not get better than that; in a handful of lines, she has told us so much of the story. "There's a light that I can see, though it might not be shining for me." As a heterosexual man with a heart, words like these kick my protective instincts into high gear. Lots of listeners – male and female – will want to sit down with Jane and be that light she’s following “a piece on down the road.”

"Nobody's Woman Tonight" is another zinger to the heart. Songs in 3/4 time always manage to move me the most. Jane’s voice has some of the same sweet, catchy quality of Iris DeMent, and no one can wring more out of a waltz than she... but Jane may be her equal. I choked up and could not speak to my wife while we listened to this gorgeous ballad.

"The Devil Don't Want" should make soulful singers like Adele quake in their non-work boots. Jane comes across here as strong, smart, and independent, but there is a part that cannot get past being vulnerable and fragile. She is tempered glass in which there is a weakness that, when tapped just right, will cause the entire pane to shatter. And we know this flaw exists because Jane all but tells us where to find it. (And note the awesome piano work of Tim Ribner that helps propel “Devil” and will make you want to hear it again and again.)

Back in her Asheville days, which she references frequently in these songs, Jane was a big part of two bands: Barrel House Mamas and Firefly Revival. She wrote several fine songs for both bands, but nothing like the instant classics she has rendered here. These new songs have a depth that exceeds her best previous work. The younger Jane would not have had the maturity to bemoan her loss in one line and come back with humor in the next: “I’m going 95 with a fifth of rye, and I ain’t going to jail in this dress.” You’ve got to root for a woman with an attitude like that.

In "Hold My Whiskey," Jane chuckles that she's got her "shit-kickin' boots on." That's the strong Jane, the one with a bit of swagger and sass... until she says that "If you plan on loving me, remember that I am a broken thing." Once again she reveals herself as independent, yet vulnerable. She doesn't ask to be loved; she dares us to love her.

“I’ve got this one precious life, and I’m running out of time,” Jane laments in “One Precious Life.” We can only hope that at age 33, Jane Kramer keeps feeling driven to write songs as powerful and beautiful as these. With "Break and Bloom," Jane Kramer has emerged as one of American's best singer/songwriters.


Waited 3 years for this album!:)
I just ordered my copy of Break & Bloom, and boy I've never been happier to pay for a cd! I've been following Jane's music since her days with her former band, the Barrel House Mamas and was delighted to find that she was working on a solo album! Her voice is intoxicating, soothing and refreshing. Her sultry voice and entrancing tones are s perfect for relaxing outside, enjoying life's happy moments, but very soothing if you have the blues. I used to have to listen to some of her music on Youtube, but now I get to hear her beautiful voice the way it should be heard. The only better way would be in person! I'm a hard to please kinda gal, but Jane tops all others in Nashville, and elsewhere in my opinion. If you are looking for something unique, folksy and down to earth, you won't regret buying her music. Best Wishes to Jane!

Deborah Bauman

Buy this music.
Beautiful music, by a beautiful woman. You will not regret buying this CD.