The opportunity of creating a show for the Performance Corporation’s Big House Festival marked a turning point for me as an artist. I thank Jo Mangan, Director of the Big House Festival for this gift.
I turned my attention from cabaret to country music. I was brought up on folk and country. These songs were my first love. Returning to my roots, I worked on the creation of a piece based on country music. Here I discovered Jezebel.
The character Jezebel, once a peacemaker and queen, later demonised as the wanton woman, held great power for me. The peculiarly Irish term you dirty Jezebel sparked curiosity and I discovered that in America’s deep south, Jezebel was the devil’s wife. I began to weave the story of my very own Jezebel.
My research of the deep south and its stories inevitably lead to stories of the deepest injustice and wrong. In the tones of my chosen songs, I found a reflection of these wrongs not at political but at personal level. There was loss through suicide in Ode to Billie Joe, the addiction and moral degeneration of Karla Faye, primal loss through flooding in Muddy Water. Through this material I wove a story of forbidden love, exile, the quest for redemption and of friendship between two women. The copy we used to describe my Jezebel for The Big House Festival is below.
I wrote and rehearsed Jezebel with my second daughter Juno, a baby at the time, in tow. Two days after performing Jezebel at Castletown House, Juno’s Song popped into my head. I sat down and wrote my first song in many, many years. That was 2013. Since then, I have written plenty songs. The creative process of Jezebel was a catalyst in becoming a songwriter.