Sisters Brandon Jane and Leah Crutchfield personify the age-old themes of country music: small town girls with a fearless spirit, a tremendous work ethic and a love of family, music and God. Growing up in Lucedale, Mississippi, population 2990, Brandon and Leah had to be creative to find entertainment in their small town. Before they could drive, they discovered music and songwriting to be that creative outlet and enjoyed collaborating and working individually from a young age. Their entire family was passionate about music and they were soon all touring as a gospel band – mom booked shows, brother played the drums, dad was on the bass, Brandon handled lead vocals while Leah sang harmony and alternated between the guitar and keyboards. As teenagers, with their family’s full support, the sisters packed the car, left Lucedale and headed to Nashville. Eleven years – and a few trials and tribulations – later, their CD is now available on iTunes, just released by Mercury Records.
To purchase Coldwater Jane’s latest album “Marionette” click here.
When you first moved to Nashville, what is a difficult transition? Did you face immediate struggles, jealousy or roadblocks?
Leah: I think we were too young to know it was difficult, but it was. We both worked so many jobs and it took a lot just to be there! Brandon ended up meeting a few key people that helped us meet other people that led us to where we are. She just has that thing about her I guess. I don’t recall any jealousy…There was certainly nothing to be jealous of! We were broke as a joke and buying our clothes from Rave at the mall!
Where do you find that you are most creative? Do you tend to seclude yourself or find that you are most creative when you write and work with other people?
Leah: Writing a song I love makes me want to write more songs I love, so whether that is alone or with other people, I want to keep doing it!
Do you think it is important for artists in the industry now to wear many hats? Meaning, does knowing how to write, sing, produce, etc. have any bearing on how far your career will you go?
Leah: That is the biggest thing I learned the past year. If you don’t already know how, you will end up feeling the need to learn to do everything. How to do a photo-shoot, your own hair and makeup, a video, be engaging, social media, contracts, publishing, songwriting, finances… The list is endless. You learn you are the head of your company and no one should be working harder than you. It’s true, all of those things have to be done. But it’s easy to lose sight of what you are good at. Someone can help you with all of those things. You don’t have to be good at everything. A co-writer and friend told us, “Do what you’re good at and hire out the rest.” I’d say that’s the best idea if you can afford it.
That sounds like great advice for everyone. So, what would be the worst advice you’ve ever followed?
Brandon: One more drink…it never turns out well for me!!
The best advice?
Brandon: Trust in the Lord with all your heart. We both pray about big decisions. We trust that God’s plan is better than ours. Even when that’s hard. That advice came from our parents, and the Bible, incidentally. :)
What would you say to a new artist or songwriter who wants their shot at success?
Brandon: If you don’t think about anything else, other than making music…do it. If you just want be famous, do something else. There are a lot easier ways to get noticed. That being said, I wouldn’t trade the ups and downs of the last 10 years for anything. I am living my dream. If you want it, don’t let anybody stand in your way.
In your opinion, what is the greatest album ever and why?
Brandon: A lot of people would say “The Beatles.” The best album to me is Patty Griffin’s “Living with Ghosts.” Her music really moves me and that album is so beautiful. I also Love “Hotel California” by The Eagles.
What are your must have’s for every day (certain food, specific piece of clothing, etc.)?
Brandon: A good cup of coffee, my Current/Elliot jeans and boots. I am a boot enthusiast. So is Leah. I am so happy it’s almost fall!!!
Who are some of your musical influences?
Brandon: Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, The Eagles, Susan Ashton & some great songwriters who’s demos I play over and over again in my car.
Favorite places to shop?
Brandon: Haven in Franklin. Topshop, All Saints, Barneys and H&M.
Any good books you have read lately?
Brandon: The Help by Kathryn Sockett was amazing. Also, Fearless by Max Lucado.
Favorite restaurant where you take out-of-town friends in Nashville?
What would we find you doing on a day off?
Brandon: Cleaning my house, shopping, cooking or hanging with my family. They are my life. I love them so much.
What event are you two most looking forward to in Nashville this fall?
Leah: I love to go to Gentry’s Farm (and pumpkin patch!) out in Franklin with our family. We have so much fun, and my niece and nephew love it! Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God!):
- My Macbook, my life is on that thing! I’d be up a creek without it.
- My Martin guitar, when inspiration strikes.
- My boots: cowboy, moccasins, high, low — I am boot-obsessed and so happy it’s fall!
To purchase Coldwater Jane’s latest album “Marionette” click here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/marionette/id458470578
From more information on Coldwater Jane, click here: www.coldwaterjane.com
* much of the jewelry worn in today’s pictures was made by Tonya Haynes. Her designs are available at Ibiza Fine Gifts.
For more pictures from behind the scenes, be sure to visit photographer Ashley Hylbert’s blog: click here.