"So here's the first song that you'll never hear/ the first of mine that will not reach your ears/ always knew that I'd write one for you/ but never thought I'd ever face my fear/ of the first song that you'll never hear." - First Song- Jasmine Rae-Briana Lee.

Country singers have long harvested hay from heartbreak in their tear stained songs.

So when young Victorian chanteuses Jasmine Rae and Briana Lee suffered premature deaths of their dads they found solace in a special tribute tune.

They wrote evocative paean First Song for Jasmine's third album If I Want To.

Rae, just 26, also wrote another song Just Don't Ask Me How I Am about the death of her dad last year at 56 from bowel cancer.

The singer, touring nationally to promote her Nashville produced disc, found mutual therapy in the Goulburn Valley citrus and dairy belt in northern Victoria.

"We wrote the First Song the week after my dad's funeral," Jasmine told Nu Country in a call from the home she grew up in with her close knit family in outer northern Melbourne suburb Fawkner.

"I drove up to Briana's home in Shepparton. It was very much something I felt I had to do - write it with her. We had never written together. I knew her and really liked her music. We met at a wedding. She told me she lost her dad just months before. When my dad passed away I immediately knew who I had to write this with - Briana. It was really therapy. Her dad was about the same age as my dad. It was really special to write that with someone who is in a similar situation. You're not making up the situation in your head. This is exactly how it is."


"Cause I'm lonely and I'm weary/ and I'm all torn up inside/ there are moments I feel hopeless/ like I'm just biding my time/ and there's nothing I could tell you/ to help you understand/ so just don't ask me how I am." - Just Don't Ask Me How I Am -Jasmine Rae-George Teren.

Rae also shared her grief with Nashville hit writer George Teren when they wrote Just Don't Ask Me How I Am - a song that started as a poem.

"A lot of sad things happening in my life when my dad had been diagnosed with cancer," Jasmine revealed of her father who operated motor mechanic, fuel injection and panel beating businesses.

"I was helping to care for him. I think it was inspired by something my mum said. She said 'you get exhausted but you want to carry on.' Most of the sad songs on this album are inspired by that. He had just turned 56 and had only 11 months warning. At the 11 months-time he and I were still jogging together. We thought it would be a much longer process than 11 months - it's very much about early detection. We did lots of exercise and swimming. It's very much about getting check-ups because it's a hereditary thing but we didn't know. I wish I had known that before - he could have started getting checks when he was 40."

Although Rae poured her heart into those sad songs she boomeranged with joyous tune My Daddy's Name - penned with tobacco chewing Nashville hit writer Jamie Paulin.

"It's less about bashing on the old boyfriend but more being proud of who you are," Rae said of the song penned with Paulin with whom she wrote Sure Thing for her second album Listen Here.

"It's less about how much he's annoyed you."


"Looking at me you think I'd be/ the girl with a guy who's nice and sweet/ and don't you know I'd be her if I could/ but I'm a sucker for a tall, dark, flick-a-cigarette man/ ramblin', gamblin', getting what he can man/ I don't know why, but the bad boys get me good." - Bad Guys Get Me Good - Jasmine Rae-Shannon Wright-Jamie Floyd.

Rae balanced mood swings with a little help from Dancing With The Stars winner Kellie Pickler and a nephew of Georgian superstar Alan Jackson with whom she shares billing next month at the CMC Rocks North Queensland festival in Townsville.

She recorded Why'd Do You Tie The Knot - penned by Adam Wright and singing spouse Shannon - and wrote Bad Boys Get Me Good with Shannon and Jamie Floyd.

"I met Kellie Pickler through my producer Luke Wooten," the singer explained.

"He also produced her album 100 Proof. I got to hang out with her. She was the most wonderful person so when it came to singing on my record she said yes before we even asked the question. She was really nice - it was just before she was asked to be part of Dancing With The Stars.

She had been dancing in the studio for eight hours a day. She's making a new album now."

So how did Jasmine hook up with Adam and Shannon who also record as The Wrights?

"It was through an ABC connection, not through Alan Jackson," Rae revealed.

"The idea for the song came here in Australia and then I refined it - it was just an afternoon job. There were three of us - myself Shannon Wright and Jamie Floyd whom I hadn't written with before. I hadn't done a three way write with three girls before but I thought this is the best time to talk about bad boys - we didn't go into it in detail about who had the most experience with bad boys."

Rae discovered Why'd You Tie The Knot after seeing Shannon Wright play the Station Inn, Nashville.

"When she sang that song I knew I had to record it," Jasmine recalled.

"It was the only song on album I didn't have a hand in writing. I loved it. I only heard it once but months later I still had it in my head."


"Car door slams, its 3am/ this one bridge town is sleeping/ big deep breath, key in ignition/ she counts her blessings, but they won't listen/ it's time to let those broken bridges burn/ it was just one night, little too much wine/ that boy don't care what he left behind/ mama prays it stays a secret/ daddy's crying, "You can't keep it"/ she won't walk the path they've chosen/ she won't fix a bridge that broken." - Broken Bridges - Jasmine Rae-Tamara Stewart-Drew McAlister.

Rae didn't have to look as far for social comment tune Broken Bridges - a song that shares a theme with John Prine's Unwed Fathers and Pistol Annies singer Angaleena Presley's Knocked Up, recorded here by Kirsty Akers.

Jasmine wrote it with Tamara Stewart, who shares Goulburn Valley citrus roots with Briana, and Narrabri born singer Drew McAlister.

"It's not something that happened to any one of us and it's not based on a particular town," Rae said of the song about a young country girl deserted by the father of her child.

"It's more about what would have happened if this was you - would you have the support of your community? We are lucky we do have that sort of support - the writing of the song is like exploring what if we weren't so lucky. I haven't written too many songs about a woman having a baby - or in the third person before - for some reason. It was really good to explore that.

It's a bit about guys not taking responsibility, very much sympathetic to the woman's point of view. Who knows if she was terrible to the boyfriend or not - it just says he left her and she has to deal with the consequences. It explores girl power."

Girl power is something Rae enjoyed in songs written with fellow Victorian songstresses Robyn Payne and Anna Tirotta.

But it was with former Baillie & The Boys duo Kathie Baillie & Michael Bonagura that she wrote These Hands.

"I met them through a friend of (former producer) Mark Moffatt's," Rae revealed.

"They had shown my video to Michael Bonagura - one of Baillie's boys and Alyssa Bonagura's father. She's a well-known songwriter in Nashville. She wrote I Make My Own Sunshine that Chelsea Basham recorded and a Pussy Cat Dolls single. We got to write a really nice love ballad - it was cool, nice to do that. Baillie & The Boys recently got together for a 21 year anniversary tour."


"You can pack all your things/ and say that we're through/ say whatever you need/ to make it easy on you/ just don't say we can still be friends/ I've already got plenty of them/ I'm gonna love you If I want to/ I'm gonna need you if I need to/ no, you can't tell me what to do/ I'm gonna want you." - If I Want To - Jasmine Rae-Bob DiPiero.

Rae wrote her title track single with Bob DiPiero - former husband of singer Pam Tillis - and filmed the video at a Freshwater home on Sydney's northern beaches.

"We came up with the theme in the studio while we were writing," Jasmine added.

"I normally take an angry approach to break-up songs. This is not an angry approach - more about owning the fact that you are still in love with that person, thinking of different ways to describe the break-up. I hadn't met Bob before the session. I had seen him on the Country Music Channel in his writer specials. I knew of him and heard many of his songs. We didn't talk about his years married to Pam Tillis. We did the video in a beautiful house at Freshwater where all the furniture was pretty much handmade."

Rae also wrote More Over Than This with veteran Blue Mountains tunesmith Alan Caswell.

"It's another sad song," Jasmine recalled.

"Allan came up with in the car on the way to the co-write. I said let's write it. I go through enough break-ups in my life - it's very much a song about a break-up and feeling lonely about that and you need to move on. It's a cool analogy."

She also wrote One Guy, One Girl with Troy Kemp of McAlister Kemp.

"It's a happy song about finding someone, it makes you feeling a whole better that when you're not with them," Jasmine confessed.

"It was Troy's idea but I really jumped on it. That was a lot of fun - he had a whole lot of ideas. He's a very creative guy. I've had some pretty cool love stories in my life."


"Lay my head on a rolling stone/ pay for a bed to rest my bones/ I thumbed my way from the baggage claim/ for just one night here on your stage/ and call it home/ 'Cause I get my kicks in a rock n roll town/ I make my cash then I drink it down/ I live my life like it won't come twice/ sing my cowboy songs/ and get my kicks in a rock n roll town." - Rock N Roll Town - Jasmine Rae- Rob Draper.

Jasmine also wrote Rock N Roll Town with fellow Telstra Road To Tamworth graduate Rob Draper.

"I wrote with Rob Draper who was one of the contestants on the Telstra Road To Tamworth the year after I won," Jasmine said.

"He's got a big property at Straths Creek off the Hume Highway. I brought my dog out there - we wrote it out on the front porch. It was great to write from a different perspective about live music. I have never written about how much I love playing music live and how much music means to me so it was cool to be able to write about that."

Rae also wrote Lazy Boy with long-time pal Robyn Payne.

"I write with her quite a lot," Rae revealed.

"I was going to have a whole horn section on this song - trumpets and everything. That's how we made the demo. I took it to Luke Wooten and he took it to this complete other level. The thing that annoys you most about a lazy boy is the thing that is the most endearing - you don't give me much but don't give me no reason to leave. You're too lazy to be bad to me so maybe we should stay together."

Rae also wrote I'm Your Girl with Anna Tirotta.

"I met Anna when I was 14 years old," Rae recalled.

"She was like in a function band. I started gigging when I was 14 as a solo act with backing track and looked up to her. She gave me a call, she's not a well-known writer but I've never been so confident in a song before. It was mostly her idea. We wrote it at her place in South Melbourne."

Jasmine launched her album at Rooty Hill RSL on August 3 before playing Gympie Muster, CMC Rocks North Queensland and Queenscliff music festival in November.

But it's unlikely she will emulate fellow singer Jayne Denham and have former Prime Minister Julia Gillard filmed at a press conference in front of her CD launch poster at Rooty Hill.

"I'm also looking forward to playing Queenscliff," Jasmine revealed.

"The album is country but there's also blues and R & B - you don't have to be a diehard country fan to enjoy it."

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