The Jensen Sisters (Q&A)

1.    Hello Kendra and Kansas, can you two tell me a little bit about yourselves before you became a country female duo?

We grew up in a very rural area of Northern Minnesota. We are so proud to be from that little nook of the country, it instilled some great values in us and really made us who we are today. Although we didn’t start singing together until our high school years, music has always been a huge part of our lives. Almost every night our parents would have the radio on. Those will forever be some of our favorite memories. 

2.    How you two come up with the name “Highway Hippie,” for your latest EP?

Well we wrote the song ‘Highway Hippie’ about a year and a half before we even decided to record the EP. Immediately after we wrote it, we both decided that if we ever got the chance to make our own music that song was going to be the title track. We credit Highway Hippie for igniting a sort of spark between the two of us. That song definitely put us in the mindset to write the rest of the EP. Highway Hippie really did become a way of life for us. 

3.    What are your guys’ favorite songs off “Highway Hippie?”

It’s hard to have favorite, especially when all the tracks off the EP are so different. Every song is its own story that encapsulates what we were feeling at the time we wrote it. 

But with that being said, there is a song off Highway Hippie that really developed while we were recording it and that is ‘Not Ready’. Originally it was this super slow & sad country song and after working on it in the studio it morphed into something completely different, we love that track. 

4.    Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2020?

Yes! We are so excited about the new project we are currently working on. We can’t say too much yet, but this one will be a full length record. 

5.    How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?

“New Wave Retro Country”, that’s a phrase we coined about a year ago and really it’s the only way we can describe our sound. The both of us have a true passion for traditional country but we’re also two young girls living in a modern world. I think the mixture of that really shows in our music.

6.    What was the first country album you ever bought?

That’s a great question! We’re not completely sure to be honest, we have a hard time remembering what happened yesterday. Haha! The first Country Artist we remember listening to though was Johnny Cash.

7.    Where are some of your guys’ favorite events or venues to play at?

What makes every show to us is the people listening. Making a true & genuine connection with whoever is in the audience is always our number one priority but one of our favorite venues is The Sanctuary in Fargo, ND. It was originally an old church they turned into a music venue and every time we play there the energy in that room is just explosive. Some venues you can just feel and The Sanctuary is definitely one of them.

8.    What are some of your guys’ favorite quotes?

9.    Is there anything else you two would like to share?

We believe that Dolly Parton has a perfect quote for everything. One of our favorites from her is “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

Yeah sure! Along with our music we also have a couple of other projects we’re really passionate about. The first one is our radio show called ‘Gypsy Outlaw’. It airs every Thursday night at 7pm CST here in Minnesota but you can also tune in live from anywhere online. Doing radio is super fun for us, it’s basically 2 hours of us laughing, talking, and playing music we love. 

Another project we’re really excited about is our clothing collection that just launched with the Simply boutique located in Warren, MN. We went in and designed a line of about 15 pieces that we love. Folks can take a look at that online as well. We have all the information on our social media pages. 

The Jensen Sisters (Artist Spotlight)

 The environment Kendra and Kansas Jensen feel most like themselves in front of an audience, lost in their song lyrics. Even it is a cover or an original, the great blended voices of these young female country musicians get inside of each listener and somehow take you with them on their musical journey.

 At just 16 and 19 years old, these small-town, laid-back sisters are going on the road for larger things with the recent release of their debut EP “Highway Hippie. The 6 songs “mini-album,” as both girls like to call it. This EP went straight to the top of the iTunes Charts in May 2019, peeking as the 10th most pre-ordered Country Album at the time. The Jensen Sisters found themselves joining the spotlight with music from their heroes, including names like Willie Nelson and Eric Church. 

 With a population, less than 200 people, Goodridge, Minnesota is home to The Jensen Sisters. Their hometown is a place that has built a stable foundation; it’s also the place that gave their first live stage. Jittery and uncertain, Kendra and Kansas entered their high school talent show four years ago. Both girls never sang in public before, taking the crowd was a big surprise they debuted with “Good Hearted Woman,” by Waylon Jennings.

 Nobody knew at the time that singing one song in 2015 would start up a love inside both of them that would change the course of their lives for the best. Since then, the girls have started hosting their radio show called “Gypsy Outlaw,” on KSRQ Pioneer 90.1, started a flourishing clothing line with the Simply Boutique, toured across the whole upper Midwest and in the center of everything; have grown a remarkable fanbase that they call family. Kendra and Kansas are set out to entertain audiences with their new wave of retro country sound, withdrawing no stone left unturned along the way.

 If you like to find out more about The Jensen Sisters then check out their website at (https://thejensensisters.com).

Social Media Accounts:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheJensenSisters/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejensensisters/?hl=en

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE35YycEa52LMHuBPhQgKfg

Alexis Taylor's Nanaimo Bars Recipe

Ingredients:

-Salted French Butter

-1/4 cup white sugar 

-5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

-1 egg, beaten

-1/2 cup butter, softened

-1 egg beaten

-3 tablespoons heavy cream

-1 3/4 cups graham cracker

-2 tablespoons custard powder

-5 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate

-1 cup flaked coconut

-2 teaspoons butters

-1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (optional)

Prep Time:30 minutes

Ready In: 30 minutes

Directions:

  • In the top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Beat in the egg, stirring until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds (if you like). Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8×8 inch pan. 
  • For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and custard powder until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set. 
  • While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together in the microwave or over low heat. Spread over the chilled bars. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

Recipe from: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/25095/nanaimo-bars-iii/

Alexis Taylor~ Q&A

  1. Hi Alexis, can you tell me a little bitt about yourself before you became a country musician? I was born in the small town of Huntsville, Ontario to two very musical parents. Growing up, I always remember the house being filled with music. My dad played guitar and sang, and my mom played piano and sang. It was only a matter of time before I started attempting to play guitar and piano myself. But of course I was too stubborn to sit and let them teach me, so a lot of what I know is self taught. Even before I had officially decided that music was what I wanted to pursue, it was such a huge part of my life! 
  2. What was the first country concert or show you ever attended? The first country concert I ever attended was a festival called Boots and Hearts. It’s a huge country music festival in Ontario and it was nothing short of amazing. I think I was 18 or 19 when I went. Some friends and I decided we would bring tents and camp out for 4 days while the festival went on. I still remember how much it rained the entire weekend, and completely flooded our campsite including my tent! But I got to see Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, and many more – so it was totally worth it!
  3. What made you decide to do a remix to hit song “Just One Look?” I had been thinking about doing a remix for one of my songs for a while now, and when I released “Just One Look”, I knew it was the right song to use. In my opinion, “Just One Look” is the most pop-sounding song I have released as an artist. So putting an electronic dance beat behind it was a no brainer. After trying to remix the song myself (and not getting very far), I decided to try to find someone who could capture exactly what I wanted – WARINER went beyond that!  WARINER has remixed songs for some amazing artists too, such as Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane, Cale Dodds. He is super talented and I look forward to working with him again in the future! 
  4. Is there anything else coming up with your music in 2020? Yes!! I have actually been busy in the studio working on some new music. I don’t have an exact date yet, but I will definitely be releasing some new music in the spring if all goes as planned! I can’t wait for everyone to hear it! 
  5. When working on new music what is your recording process like? My recording process is somewhat the same every time I have been in the studio. The hardest part is going through my catalogue of songs and picking the right song to release next. After that, it’s all about getting the right sound to match the lyrics. First, we record the drums, then the rest of the main instruments get filled in around that. After that, I record a rough vocal track. Then we layer more instruments around my vocals, then recut the final vocals and add background vocals. Luckily I have been able to work with some of Nashville’s best and my songs have turned out so much better than I could have ever expected. It definitely makes the process fun and exciting! 
  6. What are a few of your favorite venues or events to play at? I love playing events where my family is in the crowd. My parents have always been my biggest supporters, and having them come to my shows is always a chance to show them my gratitude for always believing in me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and support.
  7. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? If I could describe my music in 3 words it would be honest, catchy, and emotional.  
  8. What is one of your favorite quotes? One of my favorite quotes will always be “Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart” from The Eli Young Band song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” written by Eric Paslay and Will Hoge.  Ever since I heard that song, I feel like it relates to my journey as a musician perfectly. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I highly recommend it! 
  9. Is there anything else you would like to share? Yes! I would love for everyone to go check out my very first music video for “Just One Look” that is on my youtube channel, and make sure you subscribe!! 

Alexis Taylor~ "Artist Spotlight"!!!

Singer/songwriter Alexis Taylor is from Canada, she was raised in the tiny town of Huntsville, Ontario. As a child, she showed a love and passion for music by writing her songs and acoustic guitar playing. Both Taylor’s parents are songwriters and are very musical. Music has always been a part of her.

After making her first visit to Nashville, Tennessee, Taylor decided to make Nashville and Music City her new home. A little after, Taylor saw the launch of her international career in summer 2016 with a tour in Scandinavia and becoming an opening act for renowned singer/songwriter Doug Seegers. This opportunity helped Taylor to grow as a performer and she is so honored that  Seegers took her under his wing.

At the start of 2018, Taylor put out her debut single “Blame The Whiskey,” which allowed her to be seen live at many radio stations throughout North America, and take part in different events such as Canadian Music Week in Toronto and CMA Fest in Nashville. The release of her first song also lead Taylor taking home the award for Female Vocalist of the Year at 2019 Tennessee Music Awards, playing at the USO Northwest Gala, and taking the #1 spot for 10 consecutive weeks on Reverb Nation’s highly ranked country artists charts.

After releasing her second single, “How Do You Sleep,”which received international airplay, Taylor then put out her third single “Bend The Truth,” and it was produced by David Browning in Nashville, Tennessee. She was also nominated as “Female Rising Star of the Year,” at the 2019 Josie Music Awards, multiple nominations at the KICMA awards, and an opening act for The Marshall Tucker Band during the summer of 2019.

On January 10, 2020, Taylor put a remix of her hit song “Just One Look,” and you can listen to this great remix on Spotify and Apple Music. If you would like to out more about Alexis Taylor then check out her website at (https://www.alexistaylormusic.com). 

Social Media Accounts: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alexistaylormusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MissTaylorMusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexistaylormusic/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2eD35736i_LH_hmLG6niPg

Chancie Neal (Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe)

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

12 oz semisweet choc chips

Heat oven to 375. Mix thoroughly shortening, butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-11 mins or until light brown. Let cool. Chow down! Makes about 6 doz.

Chancie Neal~ Q&A

Hello Chancie, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?

I didn’t grow up in a musical family. My dad loved country music but other than listening to music, it was foreign. I grew up training horses and running barrels. I was actually a world champion barrel racer at age 9. I started playing music when I was 13 and moved to Nashville when I was 15, so music became my life very early on.

What was the first country concert you ever attended?

I went to see Brad Paisley- Rodney Atkins and Taylor Swift opened in Bossier City, Louisiana. My mind was completely blown! 

What is the background story behind your latest single “Rodeo Money?”

I grew up training and breaking horses and traveling all over the US competing in rodeos. Sometimes that one paycheck was only enough to pay your fuel to get to the next one, but it made you feel like you were on top of the world.  

I always say that growing up in the world of rodeo prepared me to have a career in music. It’s a lot of late nights, sleeping wherever you can, miles and miles of highways and a ton of hard work and responsibility. You have to work hard if you want to win. Music is so similar! 

Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2020?

I have 3 singles planned for 2020! My next single is going to be a song I wrote by myself called “Flowers Can’t Fix” and I am so proud to be able to say that. The one after that is going to rock the boat a little. It’s called “Hell Mary” and it just may be my favorite song on the EP.

Do you have any New Year Resolutions for 2020?

I really want to do a tour in Europe. That is more of a goal that a resolution, but I love how country music is becoming so global and I would love to have that opportunity. Also, I am a very active person with horses and a farm, and I love working out- so getting in the best shape of my life is a big focus for me this year while also loving myself no matter what my body looks like. I encourage everyone to do that!

How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?

ACTUALLY country, True to me, Tells you a story

What are some of your favorite venues or events to play at?

I love playing festivals. I get to meet so many new people and fans in those settings. And they are music LOVERS. When I sing and someone who has never heard of me comes up and compliments my singing or my songs, it never ever gets old and takes me back to my roots of why I fell in love with it so much. I also got to play the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this year and that was a bucket list show for me!

What is one of your favorite quotes?

“Only dead fish go with the flow”

It’s a little “out there” but that’s what I love about it. I am not sure who said it, but it spoke to me because Lord knows I do not go with the flow. My other favorite is “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” -Mark Twain. As a songwriter, I can totally relate. We tend to dissect every word in a song and it matters.