“I will always be proud of my first record,” says Lauren Jenkins, “but MILES ON ME is what I hoped NO SAINT could be from start to finish.” MILES ON ME (told in three parts) picks up where NO SAINT left off, telling the unapologetic, brutally honest next chapter of Jenkins’ story.
In 2020 Jenkins and her then-record label parted ways, giving her an independence that she hadn’t had in nearly seven years. “I finally had the freedom to write, record, produce and tell my story exactly the way I wanted to,” she says. “It’s strange to hear your own voice and realize you’ve been whispering for a longtime. With this realization, the sparks ignited. I called on my friends and collaborators to make this record with me, and it’s been one of the most beautiful processes of my life.”
Jenkins has been a touring artist since she was 15 years old. The Texas-born, Carolina-raised artist chose a life that would fit perfectly in the songs she writes: across countless smoky bars, fake IDs, and endless miles on the road, music has been her one constant companion. Named an Artist to Watch by the New York Times, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pandora, and many more, she was also chosen as a member of the “Class of 2019” by influential radio DJ Bobby Bones, and made her TODAY Show debut as Elvis Duran’s Artist of the Month. An accomplished actress and filmmaker, Lauren wrote, produced, and starred in an original short film titled Running Out of Road that accompanied the release of her critically-acclaimed debut album, NO SAINT, on Big Machine Records. In May of 2020, she released “Ain’t ThatHard,” her first song as a fully independent artist.
The idea of ‘settling down’ has never occurred to me. For most of my life I’ve been a wanderer, going from town to town, mile marker to mile marker. To me, “the road” holds endless possibilities, but it also holds one of the things that’s always driven me: stories.
This album began in 2020, the year that “roads” around the world were shut down. For the first time since I could remember, I couldn’t GO when and where I needed to go. I was gripped by heartache and unknowing, just like so many people around the world. I had to figure out how to create in the midst of uncertainty.
Parting ways with my label gave me an independence I hadn’t had in almost seven years. I finally had the freedom to write, record, produce, and tell my story exactly the way I wanted to. It’s strange to hear your own voice and realize you’ve been whispering for a long time. With this realization, the sparks ignited. I called on my friends and collaborators to make this record with me, and it’s been one of the most beautiful processes of my life.
Told in three parts, this album is my story after ‘No Saint’.
I will always be proud of my first record, but MILES ON ME is what I hoped NO SAINT could be from start to finish. Unfiltered, unapologetic, honest sonically and lyrically, and mine. I am humbled and grateful to the people in my life and around the world that have shown me love and generosity and contributed to the making of this record. Miles on Me is the byproduct of my talented friends and co-writers, words of encouragement, donations from fans around the world during hundreds of livestreams, and my decision to never quit, even when the road has a closed sign.
“Ain’t That Hard,” released in May of 2020, marked the beginning of this journey. To my surprise, I got a check for the first time for the ownership and creation of my music. Also somewhat to my surprise, my support around the world grew in spite of being an independent artist. The road of an independent artist is difficult, but every time you stream, buy, or share you’re literally putting gas in my tank and making my dreams possible, so thank you. - LJ
While the entire music industry suffered in 2020, few had it quite as rough as Lauren Jenkins. The acclaimed singer-songwriter, whose 2019 debut album No Saint won her raves from the New York Times, Billboard, Rolling Stone and many more, began the year on a high note, opening for Brett Eldredge in sold-out venues across the U.K. and Europe… but when she got home, everything fell apart.
Two days after the tornado that devastated Nashville, her record label, Big Machine, called to say they were dropping her from her contract. As the pandemic began sweeping across the globe, her U.S. tour dates and international festival appearances started being postponed or cancelled entirely. By early summer, both her manager and her booking agent had lost their jobs. It seemed like the end of the road.
But the native Texan - who started working when she was 15 years old - had no intention of quitting. She’d released her first independent track, “Ain’t That Hard,” shortly after being released from BMLG, and was making money from her recorded music for the first time in her career. Since lockdown, she’d been paying her rent by live-streaming and shipping out merch bundles from her living room; now, not only were her fans showing up tosupport her, but her audience was growing, and merch requests were coming in from around the world. Their generosity enabled her to keep going.
Jenkins went into the studio of her longtime collaborators Shuffle Brother Music (Gideon and Gabriel Klein) with members of her touring band (Ellen Angelico, Megan Jane) and began cutting songs without the constriction of a genre or a label’s expectations. Her plan is to release her sophomore album, tentatively titled Miles On Me, as a series of EPs throughout the year before compiling the songs into a comprehensive vinyl pressing. “Like You Found Me,” available April 9th, was co-written with Blake Chaffin and co-produced by Jenkins herself, and its message of independence couldn’t be more fitting for the moment. “I wrote it after the line ‘I’m finally fine on my own’ rang true for me,” Jenkins explains.
“The last 13 months have been a rollercoaster filled with difficult blows, lots of heartache, and some beautiful moments, too,” she continues.“Everyone who has supported me throughout this year, whether you joined me in my living room for a livestream, shared your stories and made lockdown seem less lonely, bought a t-shirt or a vinyl, or sent along what you could to help me pay for studio time - you inspire me, you’ve kept my lights on, and you’re a huge part of the making of this album.”
Co-written by Jenkins alongside Phillip Lammonds and Billy Montana, the string-laden, deftly melodic track was recorded at the home studio of LJ’s longtime collaborators and producing partners Gideon and Gabriel Klein, a.k.a. Shuffle Brother Music. “Luckily, we were able to record this before the pandemic hit,” says Jenkins. “Releasing my first independent track makes my heart feel stronger than it has in a while. I guess the dream is to be more careful with how we treat our hearts and the hearts we hold. ‘Cause in my experience, it ain’t that hard to break a heart.”
After parting ways with her former label in the wake of the Nashville tornado and at the outset of the global pandemic, Jenkins says “Ain’t That Hard” was a natural choice as her first indie release. “No matter where you go, everyone has a similar story,” she explains. “The details may be different, but at the end of the day we all go through the same highs and lows. Chasing dreams and trying to get by, love and heartbreak - they're all wrapped up into being human. Right now, as the world lives in quarantine, we can see that we are all experiencing similar emotions - from Texas to Germany and across the globe.”
At the end of 2019, I had this overwhelming desire to get out of town. So I headed West. Most of my time was spent in the car, just driving around New Mexico taking it all in. That's where I got the idea to make a music video for my version of Bruce Springsteen's "Stolen Car." I didn't have a budget or any gear, but I decided that shouldn't get in the way of the vision I had.
I think the backdrop of the West in all its beauty - and its loneliness, at times - perfectly captures the emotion behind the song. With the exception of one unused scene from my Running Out Of Road short film, all of this video was shot on my iPhone. When you have a story you want to tell you find a way to tell it. Hopefully this video helps you to feel this song in a deeper way. It's a no budget, no crew, no gear, no production representation of the essence of this song... at least through my car window.
I'm a sucker for a storyteller. Tell me a story about your joy, pain, love or loss, and I'm in. That's part of the reason why I have such a deep appreciation for Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen has a way of telling a story that feels like it's your story, too. Honesty and vulnerability seem to be at the core, and that's something I try to mirror in my own music.
Covering Bruce Springsteen can be intimidating. No one can do Bruce like Bruce can. So instead of trying to copy Bruce, I brought my own truth to these two songs. I got to record these tracks with my friends as I hear them in my head when I'm tumbling down the highway or falling asleep at night. I chose not to change any of the lyrics, but instead brought a woman's voice to a man's story. To me, that approach brings a different layer to the song and a different perspective. I think the stripped down recordings show just how powerful these two songs are… even when they're bare-boned.
I don't do covers often, but when I do, it better be a damn good song. "Stolen Car" and "Hungry Heart" are just that. They've been part of the soundtrack to my life and I'm so excited to share my take on them with you. If you haven't heard Bruce singing these songs, do yourself a favor and go listen to him, too.
Creative force and critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter Lauren Jenkins debuts her music short film Running Out Of Road to all digital platforms today. Running Out Of Road exclusively premiered with Amazon Music March 15 in conjunction with the release of Jenkins' debut album NO SAINT.undefined
Jenkins has always strived to be a storyteller first and foremost, through her music, songwriting, film and photography. “To find your future, sometimes you have to start by figuring out your past,” says Jenkins in Running Out of Road, the retrospective film she stars in and co-produced with her friend and the film's director Cole Smith. For 12 minutes Jenkins strives to untangle the threads of her relationship with a photographer (Jack Noble) against the backdrop of the American West. Shot on location in Miami, New Mexico and Cheyenne, Wyoming, “Running” melds narrative drama with constantly evolving imagery, as the young woman's memories fuel her fight to free herself and move forward.
Underscored by three original songs written and performed by Jenkins, “Running” is an evocative, accomplished piece of musical filmmaking that puts Jenkins on the map as an emerging artist with an uncompromising eye for storytelling across mediums. Next month Jenkins will also screen her short film at the Roswell Film Festival where it has been chosen as an official selection of the festival and will screen in competition.
Next week, Jenkins will release the three-part music video series that preceded and inspired the creation of her short film. Monday (3/25), she will release “Maker's Mark and You,” followed by “No Saint” on Tuesday (3/26). Wednesday (3/27), Jenkins will host a YouTube exclusive premiere of “Running Out Of Road” where fans will get a chance to chat with her on the platform as the video premieres. Fans can subscribe to her channel now for more details. Fans already familiar with the short film will find expanded footage and storytelling within the three videos, both answering questions and leaving more mystery behind as the much-anticipated trilogy is finally made available to the public.
Austin, TX was abuzz with all things film and music this week as Lauren Jenkins arrived at the intersection of both mediums, premiering her short music film on Wednesday (3/13) night at the independent Violent Crown Cinema and performing at the Austin City Limits Live Morning Broadcast (3/14) alongside artists such as Patty Griffin and Steve Earle. The singer/songwriter, who conceptualized and starred in the short music film, which is available today exclusively on Amazon Music’s iOS App, shared the cinematic endeavor just two nights before she released her first full-length studio album NO SAINT (Big Machine Records), available everywhere today.
NO SAINT found an early champion in New York Times critic Jon Pareles, who said the project “surrounds her most bitter tidings with gleaming guitars and bright harmonies.” The publication named Jenkins one of their “10 Artists You Need To Watch in 2019” alongside newcomers like Bille Eilish and Jade Bird.
American Songwriter also praised her performance with bold comparisons: “Her voice ranges from a grainy Stevie Nicks whisper in the title-track ballad, to a slicker, brassier Sheryl Crow-styled croon.” Noted AllMusic, “This hybrid of bracing pop, intimate cabaret, and dusty Americana on No Saint is invigorating, offering pleasures that are both immediate and lasting, while also announcing the arrival of a major talent.” Jenkins is capping an already remarkable week that has been a long time in the making with her first performance at the Grand Ole Opry tonight (3/15), celebrating with family and friends.
NO SAINT was a labor of love with tracks that Jenkins says are not only from her first chapters of coming to Nashville, but also reflective of her most recent. Jenkins co-wrote every track and co-produced a majority of the album alongside executive producer Scott Borchetta and Grammy Award-winning producer Julian Raymond. Other production credits belong to Trey Bruce, Matt Dragstrem and Ross Copperman.
“If you told me a few years ago that I was going to co-produce, co-write, and have a hand in the all the visuals for the packaging of my debut album that was also coming out on VINYL, I’m not sure I would have believed you,” Jenkins says. “If you told me I was going to get to combine my passions for storytelling through music and filmmaking by creating a three-part music video series that became a musical short film that’s been screened during Sundance and SXSW, I might have fainted.” Next month Jenkins will also screen her short film at the Roswell Film Festival where it has been chosen as an official selection of the festival and will screen in competition.
Jenkins has always maintained that her dream has not only been to make music – but to be a storyteller with her music, film and photography. “To find your future, sometimes you have to start by figuring out your past,” says Jenkins in Running Out of Road, the retrospective film she stars in and co-produced with her friend and the film’s director Cole Smith. For 12 minutes Jenkins strives to untangle the threads of her relationship with a photographer (Jack Noble) against the backdrop of the American West. Shot on location in Miami, New Mexico and Cheyenne, Wyoming, “Running” melds narrative drama with constantly evolving imagery, as the young woman’s memories fuel her fight to free herself and move forward. Underscored by three original songs written and performed by Jenkins, “Running” is an evocative, accomplished piece of musical filmmaking that puts Jenkins on the map as an emerging artist with an uncompromising eye for storytelling across mediums.
Amazon Music will be the first digital partner to broadcast the film. Beginning today (3/15), fans can watch the full film exclusively on Amazon Music’s iOS App. The short film hits YouTube and other digital partners on March 22. Jenkins premiered the trailer in late 2018 at Variety’s “Music For Screens” summit in Los Angeles in front of top music supervisors and teased an extended trailer earlier this week. View trailer below.
LAUREN JENKINS is a relative newcomer, but her candidly honest approach and smoky vocals are alluring. Her national television debut this morning on NBC’s TODAY brought that appeal into the spotlight as she performed the unwavering “Running Out Of Road.” Selected as Elvis Duran’s Artist of the Month, Elvis introduced her and talked to her about her drive and determination as well as her passion for storytelling.
The high-profile slot follows Jenkins' screening last week during Sundance where she premiered her short film Running Out Of Road, while sitting in for a buzzed-about acoustic showcase at the Sundance Mountain Resort’s popular Owl Bar. Her blunt lyrics and intriguingly cool demeanor have earned praise from The New York Times, Billboard, Refinery29 and Rolling Stone, in addition to being named to Bobby Bones Class of 2019.
American Songwriter dubbed her forthcoming debut album No Saint (due March 15 via Big Machine Records) as "one of 2019's more anticipated releases in the borderless world of country music." Previewing the collection with first look videos – “Running Out Of Road,” “No Saint” and “Maker's Mark and You” – Jenkins teases a full concept short film of the same name that sets her music and passion for storytelling against the backdrop of the American West.The first trailer premiered at Variety’s Music for Screens Summit and can be viewed here. Jenkins conceptualized and stars in the cinematic scenes, which will be released March 15 in conjunction with No Saint.
With a stark contrast of impassioned vocals and acoustic simplicity, singer/songwriter Lauren Jenkins today releases a straightforward performance of “Running Out of Road.” Watch the live video now. The track is the latest from her debut album No Saint, out March 15 via Big Machine Records, which American Songwriter has already dubbed “one of 2019’s more anticipated releases in the borderless world of country music.”
Filmed in one take in a western bar in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Jenkins captivates as gritty vocals croon “Windows down, radio loud, but I just wanna scream / I keep tryin’ to find the place where I won’t find your ghost / But I keep runnin’, I keep runnin’ / Runnin’ out of road.”
Unfolding her stories through this series of unfiltered performances, previously released acoustic videos include “No Saint”, “Give Up The Ghost” and “Maker’s Mark & You.” The delivery spotlights a raw sentiment each of her songs evoke – a girl, a guitar and gut-wrenching lyrics– and compliments the First Look Video teasing the full concept for an upcoming short film of the same name. Jenkins created and stars in the cinematic endeavor that sets her music and passion for storytelling against the backdrop of the American West. The trailer premiered last month at Variety’s Music for Screens Summit and can be viewed here: https://LaurenJenkins.lnk.to/RoadTrailer.
Naming her one of their 10 Artists to Watch for 2019, The New York Times proclaimed, “Lauren Jenkins writes and sings about disappointment, disillusion, drinking and holding on despite it all with a Stevie Nicks rasp in her voice” and describes No Saint as “[surrounding] her most bitter tidings with gleaming guitars and bright harmonies."
Named one of The New York Times Artists to Watch for 2019, Lauren Jenkins releases the next track, "Running Out Of Road" from her highly anticipated debut album No Saint out March 15 via Big Machine Records. With a sound described by Refinery29 as "musically so damn good and, well, pure" her debut album has been named by American Songwriter as "One of 2019's more anticipated releases in the borderless world of country music" and described by The New York Times as a collection that "..surrounds her most bitter tidings with gleaming guitars and bright harmonies."
Jenkins co-penned "Running Out of Road" alongside writers Ingrid Andress, Jessie Jo Dillon and Tina Parol and she explains that "At its core, "Running Out Of Road" is about persistence. The will to keep going, even after it feels like there's no road left to travel. I've lived a lot of places and traveled a lot of miles and I've learned that there are some things you can’t escape… no matter how far you run. Sometimes, memories follow you wherever you go. It's in the air, the sky, a stranger's face, or, sometimes, some unexplainable feeling in a single moment. The lyrics of this song serve as a map: snapshots of places and moments I've lived through."
The track, co-produced by Jenkins with Grammy Award winning producer Julian Raymond and executive producer Scott Borchetta, features gritty vocals about the fight to move forward:
I've got a full tank of gas, but my heart's on empty
Windows down, radio loud, but I just wanna scream
I keep tryin' to find the place where I won't find your ghost
But I keep runnin', I keep runnin'
Runnin' out of road
A first look video for "Running Out Of Road" teases the full concept of a forthcoming short film of the same name, created by and starring Jenkins. The film sets Jenkins's music and passion for storytelling against the backdrop of the American West and the first trailer recently premiered at Variety's Music for Screens Summit and can be viewed here.
Lauren Jenkins is an open diary when it comes to sharing her life through song, releasing her next installment of unfiltered acoustic videos as "No Saint" follows "Give Up The Ghost" and "Maker's Mark & You." Unfolding her stories through this series, Jenkins will spotlight the raw sentiment each of her songs evokes through stripped-down acoustic videos – a girl, a guitar and gut-wrenching lyrics.
The title track off her forthcoming debut album, (out March 15, 2019 on Big Machine Records) is one of Jenkins most private songs, delving into the introspective nature of her own humanity. She co-penned "No Saint" alongside Ingrid Andress while also co-producing with Grammy Award-winning producer Julian Raymond and executive producer Scott Borchetta. The meticulously-crafted content prompted American Songwriter's proclamation as "one of 2019's more anticipated releases in the borderless world of country music."
In addition to the stark video for "No Saint" is a First Look Video that teases the full concept for an upcoming short film titled Running Out of Road. Jenkins created and stars in the cinematic endeavor that sets her music and passion for storytelling against the backdrop of the American West. The trailer premiered last month at Variety's Music for Screens Summit and can be viewed here.
Lauren Jenkins has never shied from exposing her virtues or vices through a self-reflective catalogue of songs. Yet, today, she releases the most private assertion to date in the form of "No Saint." As the title track to her forthcoming debut album (out March 15, 2019 on Big Machine Records), "No Saint" was cathartic for Jenkins as she came to terms with true feelings of her own humanity. She admits the lyrics are "a confession to the fact that I am flawed, and at times broken. A confession to being unable to forgive the person I loved, after all that had happened between us... that sometimes loving someone hurts like hell."
Jenkins co-penned "No Saint" alongside Ingrid Andress, and also co-produced the track with Grammy Award-winning producer Julian Raymond and executive producer Scott Borchetta. Having the idea on her mind for a while, Jenkins teamed up with Andress for the final product. "It took all night and a few bottles of wine, but there was this incredible feeling of closure as the sun came up and the song was finished," Jenkins explains. "I was exhausted from staying up all night writing, crying and laughing, but I also felt a sense of peace because I just said everything I needed to say." While draining emotionally, the sentiment is actually about uplifting each other and sharing the pain as a form of connection -- a reminder we are all in this together. "I think at the end of the day, we are all a little damaged, a little broken - and we all make mistakes. I wrote 'No Saint' to shed light on the darkness and to remind myself that it's okay that I'm not perfect."
Accompanying the song is a First Look Video that teases the full concept of a forthcoming short film Jenkins both created and stars in titled Running Out of Road. The film sets her music and passion for storytelling against the backdrop of the American West. The trailer premiered last month at Variety's Music for Screens Summit and can be viewed here.
In addition to the title track, Jenkins previously released other album cuts – "Give Up the Ghost" and "Maker's Mark & You." As one of the 10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week, Rolling Stone proclaimed "’Give Up the Ghost’ mixes Jenkins' powerful pipes with an arrangement that wouldn't be out of place on a Carrie Underwood record." Meanwhile, Refinery29 selected "Maker's Mark & You" as New Music You Need to Know This Week, calling her delivery as "musically so damn good and, well, pure."
Smoky vocals and gritty candor fill the musical diary of LAUREN JENKINS, and today, she officially announces the release of her debut collection of memories. NO SAINT is slated for March 15, 2019 on Big Machine Records and includes her latest offering, “Maker’s Mark & You,” which is available everywhere today. Ahead of the official launch early next year, NO SAINT is available for pre-order now.
“NO SAINT has been a long time in the making,” explains Jenkins. “Some of these songs are from my first chapter of coming to Nashville, and some are from the chapter I’m in right now. I’m so grateful I was able to have my hand in writing, producing and creating all the visuals in telling my story. Flaws and all, this record is part of who I am and who I’ve been.”
Jenkins co-penned “Maker’s Mark & You” alongside writers Jessie Jo Dillon and Aaron Eshui, and also co-produced the track with Grammy Award winning producer Julian Raymond and executive producer Scott Borchetta. The song details the struggle to move on from bad habits and she professes “that sometimes the things that give us comfort end up causing us pain.” Jenkins' head-on approach to lyrics pours out a visceral truth:
Well, habits are a bitch to break / And hearts just wanna get their way
A midnight memory’s all it takes / And I’m runnin’ right back to
Maker’s Mark, Marlboros, and you
A first look video for “Maker’s Mark & You” teases the full concept of a forthcoming short film, created by and starring Jenkins. Titled Running Out of Road, the film sets Jenkins’s music and passion for storytelling against the backdrop of the American West. The trailer premiered last month at Variety’s Music for Screens Summit and can be viewed here: https://LaurenJenkins.lnk.to/RoadTrailer. Also included on the album is “Give Up the Ghost,” a song Rolling Stone chose as one of the 10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week upon its release last month, proclaiming “dressed up like an anthemic pop-rock song, “Give Up the Ghost” mixes Jenkins’ powerful pipes with an arrangement that wouldn’t be out of place on a Carrie Underwood record.”
No Saint Tracklist:
1. “Give Up The Ghost” * (Lauren Jenkins, Emily Shackelton)
2. “You’ll Never Know” * (Lauren Jenkins, Ross Copperman, Heather Morgan)
3. “Maker’s Mark And You” * (Lauren Jenkins, Jessie Jo Dillon, Aaron Eshuis)
4. “Payday” * (Lauren Jenkins, Ingrid Andress, Joel Weldon Willis)
5. “No Saint” * (Lauren Jenkins, Ingrid Andress)
6. “Running Out Of Road” * (Lauren Jenkins, Ingrid Andress, Jessie Jo Dillon, Tina Parol)
7. “Cadillac” + (Lauren Jenkins, Trey Bruce)
8. “My Bar” ** (Lauren Jenkins, Matt Dragstrem, Liz Rose)
9. “All Good Things” ++ (Lauren Jenkins, Ross Copperman, Blair Daly, Shane McAnally)
10. “Blood” + (Lauren Jenkins, Trey Bruce)
* Produced by Julian Raymond and Lauren Jenkins, Executive Produced by Scott Borchetta.
+ Produced by Trey Bruce.
** Produced by Matt Dragstrem.
++ Produced by Ross Copperman.
Big Machine Records’ recording artist Lauren Jenkins will unveil the next wave of her music through a short film titled Running Out of Road in early spring 2019. Yesterday, the singer/songwriter who was recently highlighted by Rolling Stone Country previewed the extended trailer for the film at Variety’s Music for Screens Summit. Hollywood’s top music supervisors and industry greats such as Annie Lennox, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Netflix’s Westside team were in attendance as Variety’s Executive Music Editor Shirley Halperin introduced the trailer for the film that showcases Jenkin’s unique musical storytelling against the backdrop of the American West.
Running Out of Road not only stars Jenkins but was also co-written and co-produced by the Texas born, Carolina-raised singer/songwriter.
“I told my label I was heading out to New Mexico and Wyoming to shoot some music videos with my friend Cole Smith and another friend of mine, Jack Noble, that I met in acting school,” said Jenkins. “I really always envisioned making a short film out of my songs but wasn’t sure if everyone else would understand my vision without actually seeing it. So we wrote a treatment, packed our bags and went out and just made this series of videos.”
“We brought back the videos to Big Machine and they were blown away by what we had done on our own. They said ‘this is definitely a short film’ and then gave us the funds to go back out and film more content to make it more cohesive,” added Jenkins.
“I am thrilled with how the film has turned out and grateful to have had creative freedom throughout the process. This project is very personal and very special to me. I love that we are releasing this music and the film in such innovative, refreshing ways.”
Taking a unique approach to releasing her music Lauren set out on her own path to tell her story through song and visuals by creating the music short film Running Out of Road and the accompanying music videos. The project will find a natural home on streaming mediums in order to debut the project as it was intended to be consumed, blending Lauren’s sultry vocals with staggering visuals.
The three original songs written and performed by Jenkins that are featured in the short are
Showcasing her stunning vocal prowess, Lauren Jenkins shines with a stripped-down acoustic performance of her “promising debut” (Music Row), “Give Up The Ghost” on Big Machine Records. Highlighting her natural talent, the dimly-lit video features Lauren with only a guitar as she emotes the Emily Shackleton co-penned lyrics. Speaking of her desire to release acoustic versions of her songs she says "my favorite songs are ones that you can play just the way you wrote them, without any editing. I feel like that’s the most honest way to be. So, I made this live acoustic video in one take, with no effects and no microphone. This is the way “Give Up the Ghost” sounded on the day we wrote it and letting people see the unfiltered version is something I plan to do with all of my new music.”
The song was recently named one of Rolling Stone’s 10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week and they proclaimed – “dressed up like an anthemic pop-rock song, “Give Up the Ghost” mixes Jenkins’ powerful pipes with an arrangement that wouldn’t be out of place on a Carrie Underwood record.”
Lauren has spent the past few years refining her songwriting skills and feeding her creative spirit before launching her newest project and recently told Billboard.com “I needed to really get to a place where I was strong enough and brave enough to say, 'This is what I want to do. I'm not going to let other people sort of edit who I am or the vision. I just really want to stay true to what I feel and what my vision is.”
All of my favorite pieces of work that I’ve had a hand in creating came from a crazy idea in some sense or another. That's how the video for "Give Up The Ghost" came to be. I had finished recording, mixing and mastering the song, but I wanted to expand the storytelling aspect to visuals. Sometimes, I’ve found that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. With that philosophy in mind, I decided I would create my own music video on my own dime and in the way I wanted to.
I didn’t tell anyone about my plans. At the time, I wasn’t sure if this video would ever see the light of day. The music business can be unpredictable, so I wasn’t sure if the song would ever be heard, either.
I had a vision for the video and I contacted a filmmaker friend of mine from middle school, Cole Smith, to see if he would be down to make this with me. The conversation went something like, “Hey I have this idea and location for a music video I want to shoot. It involves breaking in, but if we get arrested I will pay all your fines. Are you down?” I don’t think he hesitated for even a second.
Earlier that year Cole came to Nashville to film the recording of my album, so I was familiar with his style of filmmaking. But this would be our first real collaboration, which led to many more projects. Getting to collaborate with your friends is a really exhilarating experience.
I’ve always loved exploring and discovering abandoned places. There’s a thrill in not knowing what you might uncover… or imagining the stories of people that were there before you…There’s something about the way places can seem to hold secrets or memories that feels haunting. In that sense, the location sort of became a character in the video. It naturally felt haunted, decaying, broken…. And in contrast showed signs of life (in the foliage, light coming through the walls and broken windows, and evidence of human presence). The location at times captures that sense of “well maybe we can rebuild… maybe there’s hope” that is also in the lyrics.
I wrote "Give Up The Ghost" with Emily Shackelton. She is an immensely talented writer and she also allowed me to feel comfortable enough to tell her some of my story, which became the inspiration for this song.
Everyone has a past, but some of us have ghosts that haunt more than others. I was in a serious relationship… we had been together for a while, he moved to Nashville for me, and I knew about his past. But for some reason his past kept popping back up and disrupting our relationship. His past didn’t have to be physically near but I felt like it was a shadow lingering.
Lyrically, I think Emily and I did a good job of not making this song about blame or pointing the finger. And at the time, that’s how I felt. It was this clarity of “I love you… but I didn’t sign up to be in this triangle”.
— “But two of us is one two many.
Open the door and set her free.
Give Up The Ghost hold onto me”
In the video I wanted to end the story with a sense of hope. We see in the beginning this character trapped in this space… as if searching for a way out or an answer. Ultimately, we end with her finding a way out of the house and into the forest. The final shots, while having a sense of hope, still feel ominous, and it's easy to ask yourself, “Well, where is she going now? And is wherever she ends up better than where she was?"
I guess you’ll have to listen and watch what’s to come to find out. - LJ
Singer/songwriter LAUREN JENKINS offers a simple plea in her new single “Give Up The Ghost,” out now on Big Machine Records Sultry vocals and driving melody on display, she commands unfiltered lyrics that declare, “I know I could make you happy / Baby, if you’d only let me / But two of us is one too many / Open the door and set her free / Give up the ghost, hold onto me.” Co-written alongside Emily Shackelton and co-produced with Julian Raymond, the song focuses on the shadow of a former flame that lingers in the background and causes disruption in the next relationship.
Jenkins conceptualized the evocative video from a crazy idea before diving in all on her own. She explains, “Sometimes, I’ve found that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission, so I decided I would create my own music video on my own dime - the way I wanted. I had a vision and I contacted a filmmaker friend of mine from middle school, Cole Smith, to see if he would be down to make this with me. It was a gamble and involved some risk and creative thinking. I don’t think he hesitated for even a second.”
The video was shot in a deserted and dilapidated building in North Carolina. “I’ve always loved exploring and discovering abandoned places,” muses Jenkins. “There’s a thrill in not knowing what you might uncover, and imagining the stories of people that were there before you. These places seem to hold secrets or memories that feel haunting. So in that sense, our location became a character – naturally decaying and broken, contrasting signs of life as the foliage and light coming through walls and broken windows seemed to grow. In those moments where the light shines through, it captures the sense of ‘maybe there’s hope’ that's also in the lyrics.”
Honing her craft since the age of 15, Jenkins has mesmerized crowds with her passion and authentic songwriting that blend her traditional Country roots with Americana influences. The Texas born, Carolina raised musician has picked up a variety of inspirations throughout her travels, from the southern charm of Charleston and artistic vibe of New York City to the eclectic sounds of Music City. Her first EP, The Nashville Sessions (Big Machine Records), was released in 2016 prompting “One to Watch” praise from Rolling Stone and Billboard. Outside of her headline ventures, Jenkins has toured with acts such as Lady Antebellum, Delta Rae, and Martina McBride.
For some reason, I was born with this crazy dream to live an abnormal life and be an artist. As hard as this road has been at times, I could never chose any other path. When I was 8, I told my mom I was ready to go out into the world and pursue my dreams. She told me to wait just a little longer. So I guess you could say when I left home at 15, it had been a long time coming.
It seems that everywhere I was led to go has shaped me and given me songs. Living in New York City I was cold, broke and lonely, but that experience broadened my perspective on life and made me stronger. Falling in love in Charleston, SC under the sunshine and by the ocean gave me more inspiration. Sleeping in sketchy motels and on friends' couches in countless cities has given me more stories than I could tell. My path hasn’t been straight, but it’s made me who I am and it has led me to Nashville.
From the start, I’ve wanted to make a difference and touch people. I’ve believed that through music I could connect with people and make a difference. We all have a purpose and a way that we can make somebody’s life a little better, and since I was young this is the way I’ve wanted to do that. Somehow my winding road has led me here to Nashville and I’m working with the best team of people I’ve ever met at Big Machine. It’s still hard to believe sometimes that I’m surrounded by people who support what I’m doing and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Hopefully my life and my music will encourage other people to keep taking risks and follow their own dreams. It’s okay to make mistakes and to figure out your own path as you go (trust me, I’ve made a lot of mistakes). It’s okay to live outside of the box and to be exactly the way you are. I want my little sister and every other girl in this world to know that it’s okay to have a crazy dream and to be bold enough to go for it. I’m following my crazy dream and I don’t regret it one bit. - LJ