Singer-songwriter Jen Sygit Plays Ten Pound Fiddle This Friday
If there’s one thing that Jen Sygit doesn’t have a lot of, it’s time.
The Lansing based singer-songwriter certainly burns both ends of the candle as a solo artist, host of the Eclecticana Radio Show on 89.7 WLNZ, Lansing Community College's radio station, and as a member of two bands, the Lincoln County Process and Stella.
She’s also the official host of the open mic nights at Moriarty’s Pub in Lansing on Wednesdays, not to mention her involvement in numerous collaborations with other like-minded musicians including Sam Corbin.
Sygit will celebrate the release of her new album, “It’s About Time,” at the MSU Community Music School on Friday, October 12 as part of the Ten Pound Fiddle’s Concert Series.
Finding the time to record was becoming increasingly difficult until a friend suggested otherwise. ‘Time’ was produced by Steppin’ In It member and Jack White bassist Dominic John Davis, who is also a musical contributor on the album.
Davis also serves as the bass player for the North Mississippi All-Stars, Buddy Miller, and Joshua Davis.
“The title of the album was Dominic’s idea,” Sygit said. “Obviously, a bit tongue in cheek and a bit of a razz because it’s been nine years since my last solo album. Dominic was really the catalyst for this project. I was stuck in a rut, and he sort of pushed me out of it and said let’s make something cool. We wrote the title track together, but remotely. Dominic from a hotel room on tour with Jack White, and myself from my living room in Lansing.”
The title track also features Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi All-Stars, as well as a cast of Lansing’s own all-star musicians including multi-instrumentalist Drew Howard, drummer Geoff Ian Lewis, and keyboardist Mike Lynch.
Howard, Lewis, and Lynch, along with Ann Arbor bassist Brennan Andes, will serve as Sygit’s backing band for the Ten Pound Fiddle show.
Writing music for her fourth official studio album veered back and forth between focusing on the lyrics and music, but according to Sygit, it all comes down to repetition.
“The songwriting process for me varies from song to song,” Sygit said. “Some songs start with the lyrics or a phrase I’m attached to, while some begin with a chord progression or lick I’m attached to and sometimes both elements come at the same time. One constant in my writing is that every song gets edited and is the real secret to good writing in my opinion, and is further polished and reworked over time as the song is performed live. A song is really a living, fluid thing. An album is just a recording of songs as they existed in that moment.”
Sygit found herself with a hearty recording budget (thanks to a Crowdfunding drive) and inspiration from Davis, who pushed her to test out some new ideas. This allowed Sygit to draw on different sounds, including horns, for a funkier feel.
“As a songwriter, you’re always looking for ways to feel inspiration or to stretch and try new things creatively,” Sygit said. “With It’s About Time, I was able to do a little more stretching due to the large budget I had funded by my amazing fans, but also because of the help of Dominic. His assistance through the process allowed me to try on a few new hats I had previously shied away from.”
Sally Potter, booker and promoter for the Ten Pound Fiddle Concert Series, says the mid-Michigan area is lucky to have an artist of Sygit’s caliber in their backyard, and she’s beyond excited for the CD release show.
“The Fiddle is thrilled to be the greater Lansing stop on Jen's CD release tour,” Potter said. “It has been way too long since she has made a recording. This will be one of those very special nights at The Fiddle."
With everything going on in Sygit’s life, you have to wonder when she has the time to come up for air. She readily admits motivation sometimes comes at a premium, but it’s all worth it when the audience is engaged and actively listening.
“The hardest thing for me is getting motivated to drive to a show,” Sygit said. “Once I’m physically present, there is a synergy I experience with the audience that gives me the energy I need to get the job done. But, it definitely takes a lot of energy to perform and to “be on” even in your down time.”
Tickets for Sygit’s October 12 show are $20 for the general public, $18 for Ten Pound Fiddle members, and $5 for students. They are available online or at the box office starting at 6:30 PM.
MSU’s Community Music School is located at 4930 Hagadorn Road