Watch & Listen

Jenny Bruce

“’Firefly in a Jar’ is a perfect metaphor for the past decade,” Jenny Bruce says of her most recent EP and her fourth independent release, out in early 2016. “It never works well to bottle up emotions, and all my life I’ve relied on songwriting as a safety valve. For the past twelve years, there was so much going on, big life stuff, and I couldn’t bring myself to write about any of it. Definitely not the best plan. It was time to open up the jar and hope there was still something flickering, living inside.” A born-and-raised
New Yorker, one of Bruce’s fondest childhood memories is of spending summers at her Grandmother’s suburban Pittsburgh home. “We would catch fireflies in the front yard and sometimes put them in a jar overnight. Typically, that didn’t end well for the firefly.”

With Bruce’s signature eloquence and insight,the songs on Firefly in a Jar tackle some of the inevitable challenges, both good and bad, of adulthood. Right after the birth of her first son, her mother was given a terminal diagnosis, and her husband’s once thriving career as a children’s book illustrator came screeching to a halt. She had to take a full-time job, and at one point several jobs, just to keep their family afloat. After the birth of her second son, Bruce’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and his care became a large part of her life. “I went into auto-pilot as grief, loss and stress threatened to pull me under. It felt like there wasn’t room for me in the picture.”

Bruce found herself going through the motions not for months, but rather for years, until she received a phone call at work, out of the blue, from an old music industry friend and supporter. “Charlie Jones zapped me back from the living-dead with that phone call. He told me that I had to be doing music. That I couldn’t just stop. That music is a part of who I am and that somehow I needed to find a way. Tears were streaming down my face as I hung up the phone knowing that he was right and that I needed to begin writing for myself again.”

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Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3