When you cross paths with someone, who exudes raw energy and joyous enthusiasm, you can feel it. When you’re approached with fire fueled passion, you just plain stop. And if you’ve never experienced this, I recommend that you have a conversation with Ms. Jaquita Straw, frontwoman and powerhouse behind Jackie & The Racket.
The political climate for artists and women is no doubt heated. We all have a role to play, and in the face of adversity, we must choose how to use our words. Walking away from my conversation with Jaquita, I felt ready to channel her vibrant energy and continue to fight for all the ladies out there.
Jaquita has claimed her territory as female badass and powerhouse behind her band Jackie & The Racket. It is said that the group has a ‘dark and brassy vibe with an upbeat sound.’ After an afternoon exploring their latest four-song EP Goal Digger, I would have to add that their homegrown, Colorado grooves bring a cultural richness and musical depth that any Honky Tonk aficionado would appreciate. The music navigates inspirations from Rock n’ Roll, Country, Americana and Bluegrass.
Considering Jaquita’s background, academic musicality, and fighting drive of the music comes as no surprise. Jaquita is supported by not only her extensive educational background in music but her determination to “...be holdin’ it down for the ladies.” Even as women are heavily redefining their part in music, the Bluegrass realm remains to be conservative and still lags behind. Jaquita is the first female graduate of Banjo at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley School of Music’s Folk and Bluegrass program.
I asked Straw what these milestones meant for her, and what keeps her fighting for women in her industry. Jaquita reflected on her first musical pursuit before college, an all-female band called Pistols in Petticoats.
“...men would come up to us during Pistol performances and say ‘you’re doing it wrong. You should stand like this, or sing like that,’ I’ve never seen anyone say that to a group of guys.” In Jackie & The Racket, men approach her to say, “This is your boyfriend's band, right?”
Her crew of lady creators, tattoo artists, painters and musicians alike, echo similar experiences. Their work is often credited to belong to their male colleagues or questioned. While these experiences are becoming welcomed conversations—especially in our supportive Boulder community—we forget that these microaggressions are institutional and we still have a long way to go. Luckily Jaquita, along with other talented female pioneers in music, and not to mention personal idols, Margo Price or Kacey Musgrave, are at the forefront of inserting femininity and grace into the scene and developing a reputation that follows.
Despite her progressive opinions Jaquita and Jackie & The Racket are finding support from their fans, a testament to her skills as a musician and leader. Jaquita is playing Yarmony Music Festival in August and releasing a full-length album Tough Luck Cowboy in the fall. Tough Luck Cowboy features veteran players Tyler Grant (Grant Farm), Adrian Engfer (Grant Farm) Alex Johnson (Drunken Hearts), Aaron Youngberg (FY5), Pat Lyons (Colter Wall), Francisco Prado (JATR), Natalie Padilla (Mason Town), and Ryan Hall (Mountain Strange). Thanks to Jaquita Straw, there is a lot of buzz around this group, their future and the future of women in music.
Horoscope: Triple fire: Leo rising, Leo ascendant, Aries moon
Signature Cocktail: Whiskey on the rocks with a lime
Next Tattoo: Dolly Parton portrait
Fav Health Craze: Whole30
Creative Release: Sewing clothing and hot yoga
Alter Ego: Lil Kim