Under My Roof
'I remember buying a Pete Seeger CD in high school and falling in love with the tunes on it...and it hid it deep in my collection because it just wasn't cool to the people I hung around with then. But in the secret of my room, I'd be wailing out 'Down By the Riverside,' or something like that,' Jamie Marich recalls. In fact, Marich has often been teased for her CD collection because of it's eclecticism...it's not uncommon to find some random Croatian or Bosnian pop star (Marich lived in Bosnia for three years), a Beatles collection, the soundtrack of Les Miserables, and Gillian Welch or Nickel Creek (the biggest influences on the music that Marich is making presently), all lined up next to each other. Jamie Marich is a singer, songwriter/arranger, and instrumentalist (primarily guitar and violin, though she 'plays around' with some other things) whose life experiences have been as assorted as the CDs she owns. 'Under My Roof,' a CD that she describes as her concept album, is a collection that offers acoustic music expressed in a variety of genres: Newgrass, Folk (European and American), Neo-Folk, Blues, Alternative Country, with influences of Gospel, Classic Country, and Acoustic Rock sprinkled throughout. Marich recorded the CD with her primary musical collaborator/performing partner, James Stafford, and Michael J. Moritz, Jr., a friend (who also engineered the project). The CD features Marich's lead vocals on her compositions, as well as her work on the acoustic guitar, violin, and some experimentation with the brac, a Croatian stringed instrument. Stafford stylizes the album with his solo guitar (acoustic, electric, and classical are featured in different tracks) and mandolin improvisations, while Michael dazzles with his improvisations on the piano and B-3 organ. All three of them contributed to the harmony arrangements. 'Under My Roof,' the title track, is the direct translation of a phrase used in Latin liturgical prayers, but it is commonly expressed in English simply as 'I am.' Marich says, 'Taking you under my roof and letting you absorb some of the acoustics there is the best way to tell you who I am.' The lyrical content on 'Under My Roof' is also quite varied. Marich had written and recorded musical stories on many themes: everything from wanting to run away from school ('Lil' Red Schoolhouse'), to bad- or otherwise weird- relationships ('Swallowed Glass,' 'Come Down,' 'Kill Your Butterfly'), to child abuse ('Little Girls' and 'Sweet Little Henry,'), to family issues ('Paint Me A Picture'), to grief and loss ('Why Didn't I Ask You More?'), to social statements about the way that people are treated ('Cornersburg,' 'Four Eyes and Fatso')...to fun songs that simply take pictures of memories past ('Fly Little Birdie,' 'Out To The Sea,' 'Nuthin's Sacred In This Town'). And these are just to name a few. Marich had been working and writing primarily for church purposes (she is still a featured song leader on the Ecumenical Channel in her part of Ohio), but listening to and studying the likes of Gillian Welch/David Rawlings and the members of Nickel Creek has enthusiastically inspired her to step out and take her music to a different place. Marich also lists John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, Steve Goodman, and Ricky Skaggs as musical influences. Born and raised in Youngstown, OH, Jamie began her musical training at the age of 3 doing both Suzuki violin and singing/dancing/playing in a Slavic folk group (her parents actually met at a national folklore festival for youth in the late 1960's). Jamie spent the rest of her childhood engaged in a variety of activities from competitive figure skating to the theater arts, and while in high school, she qualified to national competition in Speech, Science, and History...and practically abandoning music in the process. Jamie sped through college just 'to get it over with,' and then dropped out of graduate school to go and live in Europe for a while. She moved to Bosnia-Hercegovina (the country bordering her ancestral homeland of Croatia) in 2000 after graduating from college, and she lived there for three years doing various jobs related to humanitarian aid, missionary, and service work. Living in Bosnia was a way for Jamie to battle many of the personal demons that plagued her in the past, to engage in a life of service full-time, and to reconnect with music. While in Europe, Jamie sang with an international spiritual folk choir, and had a chance to work with several artists from various countries, most notably Maite and Paddy Kelly of the German pop group 'The Kelly Family,' Croatian producer Remi Kazinotti, Romanian violinist Melinda Dumitrescu, Lebanese flutist Wissam Keyrouz, and Fr. Ciarian McDonnell, formerly with the Irish pop band 'The Drifters.' Jamie sang at festivals in Bosnia (Jajce), Hercegovina (Medjugorje), and Malta, and recorded two independent CDs to cater to her following in spiritual music; her second CD (the soundtrack to a Gospel musical that she wrote) was officially presented to Pope John Paul II at the beginning of 2004. Marich moved back to the states in May 2003;she has played in several U.S. cities, both as a solo act and with partner Jim Stafford. Marich earned a Master's degree in counseling in 2005 and she is employed as a mental health and chemical dependency counselor at a community agency in Warren, OH, and she often weaves music into her professional work. Jamie has recently cut back on performing to pursue her Ph.D. in counseling studies, but she hope to record again with partner Jim Stafford in the future.