Thanks in part to her firsthand knowledge of TV and radio, Amy Jack’s music has been featured by the U.S. Olympic Committee, ESPN March Madness and the NCAA Rotary Lombardi Awards. A native of Oklahoma, Jack is in a unique position: she recorded her debut album under the watchful eye and guiding hand of legendary superstar Merle Haggard. The album was one of the last projects Haggard worked on before his passing in 2016.
We caught up with Amy to talk about her latest single, Bounce Back, and to find out more about her experience working with Merle.
I thought (‘Bounce Back’) was a really catchy phrase that was powerful as we all get knocked down for a multitude of reasons in life. Everyone has a different story, but I think it’s so powerful to see how resilient the human spirit is. It’s incredible how people can themselves up by their bootstraps and bounce back with a smile on their face.
I first met Merle after a concert in Norman, Oklahoma when I was about to graduate from the University of Oklahoma. Then in 2013, I got a call from his soundman and he asked if I wanted to come out to Merle’s brand new recording studio in California to make music. I immediately said ‘yes’ and the rest was history.
He was such a perfectionist and took so much pride in the work he did. That quality of his was so infectious. Recording the album at his ranch and getting to witness his work ethic day in and day out was incredible and something I will always cherish.
Honesty was a trait that was so important to him. Being honest in life, with yourself and with your music is the piece of wisdom from him that I will always carry.
There is so much of my music that Merle has influenced. He always made such dynamic music and was constantly reinventing himself and his music, and that is such an inspiration to me. Other influences for me include Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and so many more. He was the most creative and driven person I had ever met. I will always carry that hardworking and creative spirit with me in my life and my music.
It was actually Merle’s idea (to include his covers). He asked if I would be interested in recording one of his songs and I immediately said yes. I told him I’d one up him though and do two, ha! Merle was absolutely brilliant and brought so much creativity to this project. He knew exactly what he was looking for on the songs and always gave such helpful feedback and guidance for the songs. He gave the songs his stamp of approval and told me how great he thought they were which was the ultimate compliment to receive.
It was such a gift to me to be able to work with Merle on the album and receive his stamp of approval on it. Merle always believed in the power of songwriting and writing your own music, straight from the heart. He really encouraged me to do that on this album and I’m so grateful for that. He will be with me in how I work for the rest of my life.