Brooklyn (US) based artist, Jacqueline Hackett, has just released “Garden”, the lead single from her debut E, and we’ve been taking a listen here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today.

A gentle 6/8 singer-songwriter track that throws in the occasional 5/8 bar to help keep the listener engaged. It’s a nice touch.

As with most singer-songwriter style tracks, it is the lead vocal that is the dominant feature in this track with the simple drums keeping the track moving along and the guitars sitting just a little back from the voice to allow Hackett to deliver her message clearly.

Garden is a song of loss: a story telling song. It is a song about the loss of Hackett’s father and the feelings that bubble up during the grieving process. It is a tribute to her father and the personal hardships attached to the meaning of his life. It feels like a “what might have been” song that focuses on nostalgia and an effort to stay positive in the light of the inevitable. We were particularly drawn to the finality of the line “it’s early June, we’re making plans for December, but we both know”

Garden is a gentle song that we feel might be a good pitch for a background track in a TV montage. At over 5 minutes long, it is unlikely to receive commercial air play (they can be so fussy about song lengths!), but it may be an idea to pitch to college radio and internet stations. We do feel that this song’s best use would be for Hackett to contact music supervisors with a view to a sync licensing deal.

As the song progresses, more and more instrumentation is added, with some subtle harmonies to emphasise certain lines. The addition of the tambourine in the chorus is a good idea, as are the panned incidental guitars. The slide guitar solo is dream and nostalgic – it fits the theme of the song.

From a production perspective, a hi-pass filter set around 35-40Hz would reduce a lot of the rumble and boom in the sub bass area. A boost in the kick drum track around 55Hz would help make the thump of the kick more defined and present. The snare track is a bit heavy around 160Hz so a cut here could help to bring it in line a little more. We noticed that the vocal track is peaking at both 235Hz and 310Hz so a couple of surgical EQ cuts in these places would help to make the track clearer and less ‘muddy’. The overall track has the occasional ‘honky’ tone throughout so a cut around 800-900Hz would reduce these tones. A wide boost centred around 5kHz and an additional high shelf boost in the top octave would help to give the whole track more brightness and definition. Finally, a light compressor / limiter with around 5dB of make up gain would bring the overall volume more in line with similar releases as well as adding extra warmth to the track.

Jacqueline Hackett has created a heartening song about a devastating experience in her life. As with all great songs, she has dug deep to share her emotions. Garden is a heart-wrenchingly sad song that we have no doubt helped her grieving process and will touch the hearts of its listeners.