Friday, June 13, 2008

Thankful that I found the Jennifer Hanson song

You'll recall my Saturday post about Jennifer Hanson singing "Thankful" at the Grand Ole Opry. If you weren't there, you could have seen it on TV last week.

This is the title track to her sophomore album, now available as a music download on

I was subsequently able to find the track on, and I also found Jennifer Hanson's website.

And guess what? She's a local:

The only child of two working musicians, Hanson was raised in a lower income neighborhood in La Habra, just south of Los Angeles.

OK, GAC is a little off on the geography (I'd describe La Habra as east southeast myself), but at least they were somewhat in the ballpark.

I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic area, and I was the only white girl on the street," Hanson says. "There were gangs and domestic violence and stuff like that. As a kid I was exposed to a lot of things that children in a more sheltered environment wouldn’t have seen, but all those experiences shaped who I am. We didn’t have a whole lot, but music was always at the center of my family and the focus of what we did."

Hanson’s parents (Larry and Melody) met when both were performing in a Southern California cover band back in the ‘70s, and the music they played, from Fleetwood Mac to Steely Dan to the Eagles to the Doobie Brothers, served as the soundtrack of their daughter’s early life. When she was seven years old, Hanson’s world was turned upside down when her parents divorced and her father accepted a gig as road guitarist for the Righteous Brothers....

Hanson gained her first serious onstage experience in 2nd grade, singing Dolly Parton’s "9 to 5" in front of the entire school accompanied on guitar by none other than her father. Her performance of that country/pop smash was as portentous as it was precocious. Before long her dad would leave the Righteous Brothers and relocate to Nashville to play with the group Alabama, a career move that would have a profound effect on the direction of his daughter’s life and music. In addition to the work of singers like Parton, Emmylou Harris and Patsy Cline, Hanson was exposed for the first time to the town that would become her home and to the one-of-a-kind musical community that would become her inspiration and creative base of operations.

I subsequently found it ironic that I went all the way to Nashville to listen to Bakersfield (Yoakam) and La Habra music, but that's the way things go, I guess.

P.S. It turns out that Yoakam's association with Bakersfield is purely musical. He was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, of all places, although he did get his initial fame in "a town south of Bakersfield."

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