TIFFANY HUGGINS GRANT ARRIVES WITH JONQUIL CHILD
CD releases nationally July 7, 2015
True-to-life songs, veteran players and diverse influences blend on
Mark Robinson-produced album
NASHVILLE, TN — Jonquil Child by singer-songwriter Tiffany Huggins Grant marks the arrival of a bright new talent on the Americana music scene. The 12-song album boasts 10 original numbers that bring her honey-and-crystal voice and her songwriting to the fore, reveling in her gift for melody and in her creative vision.
Grant’s songs perfectly balance the sweet and the bitter. Her arrangements reflect the signatures of great American roots music in their tremolo guitars, pedal steel, soul-fueled keyboards and perfectly measured rhythms, while also incorporating apt-but-unanticipated strokes of classic rock and psychedelia in soulful and spirited tunes like “If You Only Knew” and “Fighter.” And Grant’s writing draws unsparingly on her experiences combatting alcoholism and depression — even while celebrating the triumph over both that Jonquil Child represents.
“This album is a direct result of my growth as a person and as a songwriter,” explains Grant. “I’ve wrestled with my demons and discovered how to write songs based on my own life that also speak to the lives of others. It’s been a hard place to get to and it took me more than 10 years, but I’ve come to believe in myself as a singer, songwriter and performer — and to simply believe in myself.”
Jonquil Child inspires similar faith in listeners. The poignant country heart-searcher “When It Rains” pulls emotional strings as Grant gracefully sings about the self-pity, guilt and loss that are part of alcohol addiction over John Heinrich’s weeping steel guitar. And Pamela Jackson’s “One Too Many,” one of just two tunes on Jonquil Child written by others, provides another round of whiskey-stained regret blended with classic honky tonk. The twine of Heinrich’s chiming steel and Robinson’s evocative six-string on “Out My Window” perfectly frame Grant’s portrait of the isolation of depression. Nonetheless, the dark-themed number ascends into light on a vibrant chorus as lovely as the blossoms that helped inspire the album’s title composition.
Overall, there’s real sunshine in these tracks, and in Grant’s arc of recovery and self-discovery. The song “Jonquil Child” uses Grant’s buoyant melodies and Robinson’s ringing, joyful electric guitar to spin the tale of her departure from childhood in Smyrna, Georgia — dubbed the “Jonquil City” for its abundance of the yellow blossoms — and her arrival in the very adult world of the Nashville singer-songwriter community. The achingly romantic “Love Letters,” where Grant’s voice and Heinrich’s steel essay the depths of human devotion, was inspired by the discovery of a ream of saved missives among her grandparents’ effects. And “Ain’t Nobody Leaves” stirs the passion of the great recordings that emerged from the Stax and Muscle Shoals studios, celebrating the ballad style of one of Grant’s important influences, soul giant Otis Redding.
Throughout the album the band — which also includes drummer Paul Griffith (Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider, Jason Isbell), bassist Thomas Grant (Jeff Orr, Matt Walberg), steel guitar player John Heinrich (Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Reba McEntire) and keyboardist Jen Gunderman (Sheryl Crow, Iris Dement, Caitlin Cary) — and co-producer Robinson are perfect foils for Grant’s artistry. Robinson, who has also produced discs for songwriters David Olney (the new When the Deal Goes Down) and Davis Raines, and was voted Best Americana Guitarist by the readers of The Alternate Root magazine, was essential to the project, says Grant. “Mark’s great at making road maps,” she says. “When you follow them, they lead to the perfect place for each song.”
Although Jonquil Child is the first album to fully capture Grant’s estimable talent, it is her second CD, following 2012’s Sing Sigh Kitty. “I’ve been writing songs since before I was 14, and most of the songs on Sing Sigh Kitty were over 10 years old,” Grants says. “I needed to get them down on an album, just to move on. And then I did. The songs for Jonquil Child were written in a much shorter period — during a time when I realized that making music was what I wanted to do with my life. That inspired me to really open myself up to all of the influences that I’d absorbed, and to write candidly about life. I wanted every word and every note to mean something, and when I embraced all of that, these new songs came together naturally.”
Growing up outside Atlanta, Grant was exposed to the classic rock, soul, R&B and country her parents listened to, and early on she became fascinated by the sound of guitar. She was 12 when she got her first instrument, and began picking out chords and figuring how they came together to create songs. After her parents divorced, her mother remarried to a physically and mentally abusive man.
“It was a volatile situation,” Grant recounts. “That’s when I started writing songs. It was a way to take myself to another place. I’d lock myself in the basement, and write and sing all night. At one point my mom came down the stairs and said, ‘Hey, those sound like good songs.’ She encouraged me, so I started entering songwriting competitions.”
At 16, Grant became a finalist in the Georgia Music Industry Association’s songwriting competition, which put her before an audience for the first time. By the time she turned 17 she’d attended the prestigious NashCamp songwriting program and made the first of her many appearances at Nashville’s songwriters’ Mecca, the Bluebird Café.
It was inevitable that Grant would move to Nashville, but it took her a few years in Music City to gain her momentum. Today her stage resume includes opening shows for such respected artists as Tommy Womack and Americana hit-makers Shovels & Rope.
“Performing has come to mean so much to me over the last few years,” Grant says. “And I love it when people at my shows ask to hear the stories behind the stories in my songs. Now that I’ve found the strength to really believe in myself, I’ll keep telling stories with my music as long as people want to hear them.”
— END —