Track By Track – Jade MacRae takes us through her album Handle Me with Care

Jade MacRae has just released her latest album, Handle Me With Care, and we are delighted to bring you a Track-By-Track description written by Jade for this wonderful album. She is one of Australia’s finest singers, with a voice which effortlessly shifts between different styles, be it R&B, gospel, blues and soul.

You can purchase a CD by following this link HERE. It’s also available on all major digital platforms.

In the meantime, click on Play below, and have a read of what inspired each song. It makes for insightful reading.

Track by Track – Handle Me with Care

Up Above Your Head
This song was written following a time of complete chaos in Australian politics, and was partly a way for me to vent my frustrations, but also a way to send a message for people to be conscious of the world around us, to wake up and small the proverbial roses, and to make some noise about the issues we all feel are important. We’re living in volatile and unstable times. I’m advocating for our communities to feel empowered and aware enough to make their voices heard. As a woman of mixed race i’ve encountered all kinds of strange and stupid behaviour, bias and hypocrisy over the years. This song reflects some of those experiences and also my despair at the lack of governmental support through so many of those issues.

I Choose Love
I wrote this song as a declaration of self love, and a reminder to myself that I can choose my own destiny, and carve out a path of love not just in relationships, but also with myself. After my first marriage ended I was a wreck, and I got stuck in some very self destructive patterns. Thankfully through the support of amazing friends and family and a lot of therapy, I have come out of that darkness and am continuing to improve the relationship I have with myself and my ability to practice self care and self respect. Get the self love going, and love on a higher frequency starts to flow.

No Matter What I Do
Ever since I started writing music I’ve at times had the strange experience of writing a song and feeling as if the song already existed and I was just the conduit to realise it into existence. This was one of those songs. From the moment I sat down at the piano and played the riff that sits under the verses, until the final arrangement of the background vocals and horns, it was like this was just a gift to me and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to catch it out of the ether. Recording this song was an absolute joy, with the rhythm section laying down the heaviest back beat, and 8 of my all time favourite singers (including my mum) featuring in the backing vocal section. Vibrations were high on that session.

All Over My Face
I’ve always been a pretty optimistic person, a mostly sunshine and rainbows type, always smiling. But, as happens to so many of us, that shine wore down and I went through a pretty rough patch a couple of years back. I wrote this song after finding new love and feeling supremely happy, and yes you only had to take a look at my beaming face to get the idea that things were going pretty well haha. So I didn’t feel at all self conscious about the title of this song until I took it to my band and friends who all told me that I would need to rename it because it was too, well, suggestive. I tried it every which way but in the end I thought, to hell with it, read into it what you will! It all started out very innocently!

Nobody But You
When I was writing this record I had been listening to a lot of 1950s Rhythm and Blues and when it came to the production of the album I decided to pay homage to that era by using all Upright Bass. I feel like this has given the album a pretty distinctive sound, and this song features the bass in all it’s glory right up front. I’m lucky enough to have the incredible Jonathan Zwartz in my band – JZ is widely respected and known for his jazz playing (which is insanely good) but what I really love about his playing is his ability to really dig in and drive the band on the Upright in more rhythm and groove based music – he has a monstrously fat tone and I always feels completely supported and elevated by his playing.

Oh My Darling
Over the past 5 years I have been touring almost full time with blues guitar great Joe Bonamassa. I’ve made some amazing friends in the band and touring party and most of this record was written whilst on the road in hotel rooms or dressing rooms. This song came together with Paulie Cerra who is one of the horn players in the band, but he’s also a phenomenal singer and blues artist in his own right. We had a great time writing this one, and the cherry on top was that Joe was generous enough to feature on it – we went into the studio on a day off in Toronto and he put down the wildest solo which really put the song over the top.

Let It Ride
Let me hear the girls sing! We all owe a lot to the call and response style hook, and this song is no exception. I’ve been blessed my whole career to work with the best of the best singers and I love nothing more than singing in a great section, harmonising with other voices. This song is a great feature for the backing vocal section and in the few shows we have played live with this project so far, the audience can’t help but sing along.

How Long
I wrote this song with my dear friend and long time collaborator Ben Rodgers. It was another one that just fell out of the sky and into our laps and was all done and dusted in about half an hour. Ben and I have always worked really easily together ever since I had him play in my band back in the early 2000s when he was just 18 and didn’t own any shoes! We’ve been tight ever since (and he has evolved into a fashionista with many amazing pairs of shoes) and we both wanted to give this song a little island flavour so it features some sky high Hawaiian style backing vocals and some beautiful vibraphone playing from Australian percussion legend Ian Bloxsom who sadly passed away late last year. I’d known Ian all my life and it was very special for me to have him play on my record, that recording session was one of the last times I saw him, I’ll always treasure that memory.

Handle Me With Care
This was one of the first songs I wrote towards this record. I’d been toying with the idea of making a soul record as it’s something that I had never really done, despite feeling more connected to soul music than any other genre. As a young artist I had always wanted to make this record but for many reasons, it never happened. In hindsight I don’t think I had lived through enough at that stage of my life to have the depth of experience to draw from to write these songs. This song is all about re-opening yourself to someone, re-opening yourself to love. Breaking down walls of fear and learning how to trust – not just someone else, but trust yourself to love again. This song is a pledge to myself to be a better caretaker of my own needs and feelings, and it also lays out plainly the respect and care that I (gently) demand from anyone that knows me intimately.

Salt Up On The Rim
In 2018 I went to New Orleans for the first time. I had been wanting to go for years and years having always been a huge fan of New Orleans music. My dad had just come through prostate cancer and he and mum and I decided to take a trip and live it up for a few days. We had the time of our lives and I came away greatly inspired by that trip. We saw so much incredible live music, got high on the juju and history of the city, ate oysters every day and drank margaritas from noon. My dad, plays all the piano and Wurlitzer on the album and this song is a dedication to his amazing playing, and of course our shared love of delicious margaritas.

Midnight Air
This is another song written after my trip to New Orleans. I decided to incorporate elements of the New Orleans funeral march as I was starting to come out of the grief of my marriage ending and feel some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. I was right at the interface where optimism meets depression, and I felt myself being pulled back and forth wildly. The sense of loss was overwhelming, but the weight that had lifted from me was dizzying. It was a very surreal and strange time, full of conflict and confusion. The backing vocals on this song give me goosebumps every time. There is something so visceral and raw that brings me almost to tears when I hear their voices together. The greatest thing about making this album, was the deep connection I got to experience, working with almost all of my closest friends and long term collaborators, and both my parents. Bringing everyone together brought me more joy than I can put into words – I feel completely humbled and grateful for all the amazing contributions that have made this album what it is.


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Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker