IT'S AN ALBUM, A BOOK, A MUSICAL, AND A MOVEMENT!

WINNER FOR BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - ANTHEM FILM FESTIVAL 2020

IN SHORT

My "elevator speech" goes something like this ... I was born into the fourth generation of a large Texas cattle ranching family. Within the family, there was a debate and division regarding how to and how not to raise cattle. I've written a twelve song story album about my wild and wonderful family that spans four generations. As I've looked into the details of the debate and the many resulting divisions down through the generations, I've realized that what divides a family divides a nation. Alongside a wonderful team, I've now developed a multi media stage production being dubbed,  "The first Americana musical." The musical, "Return to Love" is staged around the 12 songs, and features live actors, live music, film, and family recordings that date back to the 1970's. The show is slotted to debut in late 2023 at The Franklin Theater. 

CURRENTLY

The amazing "Return to Love" team is scheduling acoustic versions of the musical in smaller venues and private rooms in order to share the bigger vision with the local Franklin community. For booking inquiries, email Monica at info@commongroundsound.org

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1993

In 1993, I had a "big idea" but I continued to say to myself, "That's a really cool idea except that I'm tired of cowboys, and I'm hell bent on getting away from my rural cowtown roots and becoming a full fledged songwriting hippie!" So I blew off the big idea, and moved to Nashville. But then...

THE HISTORY

2003

2015

In 2017, I recorded the songs in a studio in Amarillo, Texas with engineer/owner, Glenn Storlie using local musicians in an effort to capture the sound of the region of Texas where I grew up and my family farmed and raised cattle. 

2017

In 2003, I found myself living back in Texas in a downtown Fort Worth apartment where I finally surrendered to that idea, and set out to write a 12 song story album about my wild and wonderful Texas cattle ranching family, and wow has it been a journey from there...

In 2015, after many trials, obstacles, mountains, and endless stops and starts, I locked myself in a borrowed house in Angel Fire, New Mexico for two weeks and finally finished writing the 12 song story album.

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In 2018, I got bored while waiting to get back in the studio to finish the mixes of the album, and began writing one song every Friday for several weeks. Those songs became known as "The Friday Farm Songs"

2018

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Live show

2019

2020

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In 2019, I hired a band and played to a sold out audience performing the 12 songs live in a beer-barbeque joint 20 minutes south of Nashville.

The audience response proved to me that people followed the story and were excited about it, but I felt the show needed some visuals to  enhance it. I set out to simply film a one camera, black backdrop video version of the show for the sole purpose of sharing it with future production team members who would help produce a better live show. I got a bit carried away creatively though... and roped my husband, Stan into it, forcing him to wear western hats and "costumes," and play guitar, and help with the scoring of it, and then...

In 2020, I shared the rough video edit with a former music industry colleague who encouraged me to take the video seriously, then helped me work on a better edit of the film, and then pushed me to enter it in a film festival which aired on the SalemNOW network! And then...

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2021

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To our amazement, Stan and I won BEST ORIGNAL SCORE - ANTHEM FILM FESTIVAL 2020!!!

2022

While all that was happening, I returned to Texas with the funds to attempt, through all of the Covid craziness, to mix the 12 song story album - almost to no avail. Only four song mixes were completed through many road blocks over 9 months. Soooo...

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In 2021, I returned to Nashville and my former "home" in the RCA Building on Music Row and finished the mixes with producer/engineer, Eddie Gore in Studio C. I released an unmastered version of the album to my website only, sharing it with my small, but mighty contact database of supporters. 

In 2022, I wrote a book called "Glory and Warfare" which explains in greater detail  the rich story of my family and heritage, and how the story and struggles of my family parallels the story and struggles of this nation.  The chapters of the book are titled and based on "The Friday Farm Songs" from 2018. It just somehow worked out that way. 

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... oh, and I am currently producing "The Friday Farm Songs" in our home studio in Franklin, TN. These songs will be released "soon."  

Next, I began assembling an incredible team and cast to help in the writing and development of the multi-media stage production (the musical), "Return To Love."

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2023

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In 2023, the team is preparing to fully release the album, as well as scheduling a slew of fantastic and unique shows for specific audiences in Franklin, TN, all leading up to the big debut of the multi media musical in Dec of 2023, at The Franklin Theater! 

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For more detailed information on this vision including main messaging, fundraising efforts, and accountability, please visit our inVEST in the MESSage page. Thank you so much for your time!

Love to all,

Jill 

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