Susan Varnes-Newland
ALBUM REVIEW by Susan Varnes-Newland
(Guest blogger from Grieve The Astronaut) ~ ~


As I sit in my red vinyl bean bag chair, headset on, cord attached to the turntable…

Looking back, life seemed a lot simpler during those vinyl bean bag chair days.
A lot has changed since then.

- Jessica Lynne -
" Crazy On The Outside "
Nashville, TN December 2019

Jessica Lynne_COTO_Slider

Jessica Lynne’s new single “Crazy On The Outside” will be released on May 9th!
~ pre-save today on Spotify ~

Life can be a complicated mess. Sometimes it’s because of the people that we encounter on our personal journeys. Often times though, they are the ones that cause you to develop new skills, or maybe even change the direction of your journey. And they’re also the people that musicians write songs about. And, let’s be honest, can make life interesting and colorful. Or a living hell. It just depends on how you choose to handle them.

I’m an Introvert living in an Extrovert’s body. My body loves to travel and experience the world . But inside, I’m usually quiet and observant. I’m constantly seeing new insights and revelations, and writing those thoughts down before I lose them in the next great experience.

My body was leading my mind on an adventure, when I received the invitation from my friend and Recording Artist Jessica Lynne, to join her in Nashville, TN. I first met Jessica Lynne and her lifetime partner, Raymond Hayden, at the Seattle Hard Rock Cafe. From that meeting, a Conquest Adventure was formed. I’m a flight attendant, and now try to check in to as many Hard Rock Cafes that I can. On the day I received Jessica’s invitation, I was at the Tampa Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. While eating my lunch, I read Jessica’s most recent blog. What she had written, really struck a chord with me. So I sent her a text about it. She sent me a text back “ I just received an invitation to the CMA Holiday Party in Nashville. Do you want to be my guest?”. And before my introvert mind could process this opportunity, my extrovert body said YES! And a new adventure was ready to begin.

I had been flying to Nashville frequently the past 2 years. However, my husband had never been there. And since we both already had vacation days planned ( and we have free travel benefits) we turned my CMA Holiday Party into a broader adventure. Let’s spend the week in Music City, Nashville. Which also included sitting in on the recording of Jessica’s new song “Crazy On The Outside”.


I had never sat in on a recording session. So I was really excited when Jessica asked us to sit in on the recording of her new single “Crazy On The Outside.” The recording studios in Nashville are very unique. Driving by, you just see a regular home, with a sign outside ( maybe). But once you enter the door, you realize you have entered a place where magical history has been created. And continues to be created.

Larry Beaird is not only a talented producer, he is also a talented musician. He has produced songs featuring famous artists, like the legendary Dolly Parton. And as a musician he has sat in on thousands of recording sessions. Playing acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin with Rascal Flatts, Faith Hill and many others. I didn’t read his bio until after the recording session was over. I was absolutely impressed. He is such a humble and kind man. I understood exactly why Jessica chose him to produce her music. Walking into the studio, was like walking into Nashville history. The walls were filled with albums and CDs that were recorded there. WOW! Never judge a book by its cover.

Jessica Lynne

Prior to entering the entering the recording studio, we met Jessica for lunch, and she filled us in on what to expect. We would experience her recording the song from beginning to end. An approach unique to Nashville. When Jessica left the studio, the completed song would be in her hands.

Jessica Lynne

The first part of the day was creating the base track. The studio musicians arrived, read over the sheet music, and then sat in their respective (soundproof rooms) and recorded together. No practice session ahead of time. Jeff and I sat in main mixing area, wearing headsets, so we could listen in. It was incredible at how quickly the track was recorded! Studio musicians are probably the most unrecognized musicians out there. They make or break a record, but they (usually) aren’t the ones you see performing live with the artists. It was fascinating to hear their additions and ideas. 30 minutes later, the track was complete and Jessica moved onto her section. The recording of her vocals onto the instrumental track.

Prior to this recording session, I had not heard “Crazy On The Outside”. During the instrumental recording, I was focusing more on the musicians and their performance. During the vocal recording, it was Jessica’s voice and lyrics that received priority. I really felt the power in her voice, and impact of the lyrics. I had constant chills. She would sing various vocal deliveries , listen to them with the sound engineer, and then the best performance was inserted. No cutting of tape reels, like original recording sessions. Now it is all done via technology. And then, her own backup harmonizations. It’s made me listen to music differently. It also made me realize that often times, the artist is the only voice I hear on a recording. Almost like a vocal loop pedal, where the voices are recorded on top of each other.

Final production. The mixing room. The Master Chef putting together the final ingredients. Do you want to add this to create a different flavor? What kind of end presentation are you looking for? Once again, realizing the importance of choosing the perfect recording studio. These decision can determine the course of a song. And, then, voila. 6+ hours later, the masterpiece was complete.

We decided to finish off the day by attending the Time Jumpers performance at the well known 3rd and Lindsley venue. They are Vince Gill’s local band, featuring the legendary Riders in The Sky. On the drive there, we listened to The Top Secret Recording of “Crazy On The Outside.” We were the first to hear it outside of the recording studio . How COOL is that!

So, my husband’s first day in Nashville included sitting in on a recording session and Vince Gill. Go big or go home, right?!

I wound up my week in Nashville, by being Jessica’s guest at the CMA Holiday Party. Prior to attending the party, we went on a tour of RCA’s Studio B, where Elvis Presley recorded many of his hits, located on Music Row, located just down the road from CMA Headquarters. After experiencing Jessica’s live recording of “Crazy On The Outside”, it was fascinating to learn about the original recording experience. We’ve come a long way, baby.

The CMA Holiday Party was the perfect ending to my Music Week In Nashville. And a total pleasure to meet and have conversations with people working in a variety of capacities in the music industry. And to put a face to a name. Like Katy Rogers of 96.9 KAYO Radio. I love following her on Facebook! Great stories about music and Nashville.

Thank you for a fantastic experience, Jessica Lynne! I’m excited for your release of “Crazy On The Outside” ( hopefully) at The Auburn Amphitheater on May 9th. Our world has turned a bit upside down right now. It’s totally CRAZY ON THE OUTSIDE, but we can still connect with music while staying safely in our homes.

You’re an amazing woman and inspiration, Jessica Lynne. This is definitely The Year/Decade for Women of Country.

Jessica Lynne 2