Jackie K releases a creepy folk ballad called ‘Nurse Jane’ based on a true story
North Battleford, SK’s Jackie K has released her latest single, “Nurse Jane,” a creepy alt-folk ballad inspired by a tuberculosis sanatorium in Saskatchewan and a troubled nurse who worked there.
“Saskatchewan opened three TB sanatoriums at the beginning of the 20th century, and one of them was located in the Qu’Appelle Valley at Fort San,” Jackie recounted. “It was a completely independent space, except for coal delivery, and an early model for what we now know as Medicare.”
Built in 1917, it functioned as a TB clinic till 1971.
“The building was taken over by the Saskatchewan government and was used in the summer months for the Saskatchewan School of the Arts, which is how I came to know it,” Jacky said. “I spent three summers there. I had a blast playing both concert band and jazz music. However, it definitely had a haunted vibe. It was known as one of the most haunted places in Canada.”
Jackie K was engaging in her usual free-write morning exercise, writing a lyric about the banana popsicles she’d eaten while attending the School of the Arts, when she decided to do some more research into the sanatorium.
“I read about Nurse Jane and her time in the building when it first opened. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the story, but it intrigued me nonetheless,” she said.
She recorded “Nurse Jane” at home, playing everything herself, including the trumpet. “I dragged my fingernails across a set of bongos to get the scratchy sounds in the last verse. It reminded me of the noises we used to hear while we tried to fall asleep,” she said.
The song was co-produced by Sean Davis Newton, with whom she worked on her 2021 EP, Look for The Little Things, which contained “Night at The Opry,” a No. 4 single on the Top 100 Country Countdown. Sean added a variety of ghostly effects to enhance Jackie’s retelling of a tragic tale.
Jackie K is happy to name gifted songwriters like Brandy Clark, Elvis Costello, Ron Sexsmith, and Nancy Griffith as influences on her work, and she notes that her love of jazz, by artists such as Diana Krall and Nina Simone, continues to percolate through her songwriting, her recordings, and her performances. When she isn’t writing or performing, Jackie conducts the bands and teaches guitar to high school students at North Battleford Comprehensive High School.