Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 25, 2008

Jetty Rae puts her own mark on music

Charlevoix-based musician plays at Crystal this week


TRAVERSE CITY -- Jetty Rae played guitar and sang in the halls of Charlevoix High School "for a few, select hippie girls" a few years ago.

She's now singing her own songs around northern Michigan, many of which are on her first album "Blackberries" and is steadily cracking the Detroit-Ann Arbor market.

"Things are picking up slowly, but it's in an area where there are so many artists," said Rae, 21, who will perform at Crystal Mountain Resort on Sunday, Dec. 28, and Monday, Dec. 29.

Rae said she likes the playing, singing and writing equally.

While she generally sings in a sweet voice and style that evokes stars like Sarah McLachlan, K.T. Tunstall, Adele or a female version of Jack Johnson, she also takes chances in style and content.

A song that didn't make it on her CD, but which can be seen in a video on her Web site, is "Punch Your Face," a song about frustration.

She was working at a club in northern Michigan when one of the hostesses, having just dealt with particularly rude customers, confided in her that she wanted to punch someone's face.

"Usually, I like to write deeper songs," she said.

She has a rapper accompany her singing on a couple of the tracks.

The most unique twist on the album is the song "Sunshine," a rewrite of "You Are My Sunshine." She gave it an entirely new chord structure, changed the melody and wrote a new verse. Yet the words that repeat are the familiar words of that American classic.

"My grandfather used to sing me that song," she said. "Shortly after he passed away, I wrote it in honor of him."

She is also influenced by her grandmother, who was a full-blooded American Indian of the Karuk tribe in California.

Jetty Rae's shows at Crystal Mountain are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.