Room Thirteen caught up with Sally Jaye for a chat, and she was good enough to answer some questions about how she is getting along these days. Here's what she had to say:

R13: What started you on the path of music as a career?
SJ: Music was always a big part of my family, lots of singing in church, high school choir, piano lessons, etc. But, it was when I was 18 years old that I decided I wanted to write songs. I had a summer job in Maine at a resort where I worked as a maid during the day, cleaning the guests' toilets and making their beds. Then at night I transformed into tap-dancing cabaret singer for the guests. That summer, a boy I was foolishly smitten with gave me a copy of Nanci Griffith's live album, "One Fair Summer Evening". From then on, I wanted to write songs.

R13: There's a deep south sound to your music; was that a style you grew up on?
SJ: Yes. My father had an old reel-to-reel tape player with seven hours of music which included the likes of Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Freddy Fender...that was the music we listened heard in around the house except for when my brother and I got to go to the roller skating rink where we heard pop music.

R13: It's taken you a while to finish 'Amarillo'; what has the extra time brought to the album?
SJ: All in all, the actual time spent on the record was about three weeks, but after we spent the first week in the studio, I ran out of money, so I had to take a break. That ended up being a good thing because during that period I wrote "When the Cocaine Wears Off" and "Fair Lady" which ended up fitting in nicely with the songs we ended up choosing to make the record.

R13: After the long wait, the final recording of 'Amarillo' was completed in just 16 days. Was it difficult to throw yourself into the task, when it had been on the shelf for 5 months?
SJ: Heck no! I couldn't wait to get back in the studio! It keeps me out of trouble when I have something to work on. Unfortunately, I have no technical skills and no recording equipment, so when I record at home, it's crappy garage band demos with my dog barking in the background, my noisy refrigerator and my out of tune piano. I will never shy away from the opportunity to work in a real studio with creative musicians and a great engineer.

R13: Having been a part of the Hotel Café scene, you've been able to enjoy the community that great place has created. What's it been like?
SJ: I'm from a small town in Georgia, a very different culture than Los Angeles, so I've never been a real scenester. I don't have any cool clothes or cool things to say. But, the Hotel Cafe has been very kind to me, always giving me a home to play my music, which isn't an obvious fit in the LA music scene. It is also there that I have been introduced to so many other talented and inspiring musicians and friends.

R13: How do you think that kind of community helps new and independent artists like yourself?
SJ: Short's never good to drink alone.

R13: You've had a few well known artists appear on your album, including one of our personal favourites, Brian Wright. What made you decide to share your debut project with these other artists?
SJ: Brian is one of my favourite songwriters ever! He's right there with Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Bob Dylan. We were friends, and I was a fan. I was terrified to ask him to play on the record, but I did, and thankfully, he said yes. We made a mistake when we printed up the CDs and didn't include actually all of the things he did on the record which is everything from vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and banjo. Where there was something missing from a song, he filled in the missing piece.

R13: You've written songs for various films and TV projects. Do you think these kinds of opportunities make a real difference to the careers of independent artists like yourself?
SJ: Haha! Any songs I have placed in film/TV projects have only generated a little gas money and maybe paying an electric bill once or twice. So, I wouldn't be able to say. But, I do have other songwriter friends that have benefited greatly from their placements. I don't have television, so I miss out on getting to hear a lot of those songs on prime time shows. But, I watch a lot of films, and I think it would be such an honour to have a song that compliments a great film. Like Aimee Mann's song, "Wise Up", in the film "Magnolia." Breathtaking.

R13: You've been compared to some of the greats, like Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin- do these comparisons ever feel daunting?
SJ: These are flattering comparisons, especially since I have been inspired by both of this artists, and have studied their music. It is wonderful to have grown up on the music of Emmylou, Loretta, and Dolly, all brave women who could wipe the stage with just about any man's ass if given the chance. Artists like Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch have been passed that torch, and carried it well. I'd sure like a shot at it myself.

R13: Has it ever been difficult to keep your artistic integrity in a world that can be as cutthroat as the music industry?
SJ: Haha! No, because what may be considered a downfall for me by some, is that I don't know how to do anything but what comes naturally. I've never been good at sitting with an industry expert and accepting notes like, "you need to write happier songs", "you can't have two verses before a chorus", or "why don't you dress sexier?" don't get me wrong, I'd love to sell more records, play bigger venues, and make more money. But, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen without any modifications to who I truly am.

R13: What is it that inspires you to keep going when you're discouraged?
SJ: My dog, Maci.

R13: What does music give you that nothing else can?
SJ: It is the only way I can medicate my heart and noisy head without spending money, getting arrested, or suffering from a bad hangover.

R13: So what's on the cards for 2009?
SJ: I'll be releasing a live gospel record recorded in an old church in North Carolina. Brian Wright co-produced and performed with me on this. I also hope to start on a new studio record in the new year. And, I've just started playing a little drums in my sets, so hopefully, more of that. I'm also hoping for a new refrigerator, one with a freezer that works, so I can buy ice cream.