An Interview With Mike & Tianna of Jackson Hollow

Q: What inspirations came to you while creating the ”Roses” album?

Mike Sanyshyn: For me, one of the moments in recording the album that inspired me to think outside of the box and play differently was on the song, “For the Life of Me”. When we played it live, it was with a mandolin, but in the studio, we got a pleasant surprise when we realized that the fiddle supported the track. Outside of this, the experience inspired me to be a better singer and push the envelope to keep up with Tianna and Charlie.

Tianna Lefebvre: A vocal balance was important for us to achieve with this album. By that, I mean that when I’ve done other albums as a soloist, the BGs are usually in the background. On this album, we wanted everyone to be heard and the vocals to be punchy so that as a listener, you can hear everyone’s vocals completely on all tracks.

Q: If you could choose, which song on your new album means the most to you, and why?

Mike and Tianna: “Travelin’ Heart” is a special one for us. Not only was it our first single, but it was played on American radio during the July 4th weekend 2021 and the support for the song just continued from there. It was a sign that our instincts as artists in creating this sound were correct and there was an audience for us out there.

Q: Hey, how would you describe your sound to someone who’s not heard your music before?

Mike and Tianna: We like to say that Jackson Hollow has a modern bluegrass sound, but it stays true to classic country origins. You’ll hear the traditions and influences that you would expect from a bluegrass band but with modern polish.

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become a musician?

Mike: I realized I was a fast learner of the violin when I started playing it at 8 years old. Within 6 months, I was playing in a symphony orchestra. At 9 years old, I was “hired” for a private wedding anniversary gig for friends of my grandparents. It was a full house and everyone really enjoyed it, including me. Everything just made sense to keep going.

Tianna: I never really thought of it as an option until people started hearing me and saying positive things. I thought I was just playing around and then people would encourage me to record music, go on stage, and enter contests. When I did my first studio demo, people who had been in the industry for much longer took an interest. Then I started performing at jams – I was underage, so I would be escorted to the stage – and it continued from there.

Q: What inspires you the most to write your songs?

Mike: I’m very melody-based and I write instrumentally. I usually start by singing a melody and working through it. The more it flows, the more it comes out and grows. Sometimes I’ll use one session to create the first half of a song and come back to it or I’ll work through all of it on the spot. It’s a very natural process.

Tianna: I write from a very rhythmic and visual standpoint. I’m usually painting the picture I’m already seeing through lyrics.

Q: Who would your ultimate dream collaboration be with, and why?

Mike: I am always impressed by the Western Swing sounds of The Time Jumpers, so they would be my choice. Lots of great fiddle and pedal steel and just altogether incredible musicianship.

Tianna: I like Jamie Dailey. He sings the high notes perfectly and just has strong vocals and a great range.

Q: If there’s one song from your catalog that you wish everyone in the world could listen to, which one would it be?

Mike and Tianna: That would be “Shallow Rivers”, one of the singles from our album. Not only did it get a great response from radio and fans, but our good friend David Wills had that song on file for years after it was pitched to a band he previously managed. He offered it to us as a late pitch because he felt it was perfect for us. He was right and we love it.

  Q: What do you have planned for the year ahead?

Like our last two years, this will be another busy one. After we’re done with this album release and the various branches of getting the word out, we’re looking forward to getting on stage again this summer. We’ll also be recording some new music, beginning in the fall.


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