Jenifer Jackson is quite blunt with her assessment of her latest record. "OUTSKIRTS," she says, "was my recording dream-come-true." She's right. What she envisioned, what she imagined, was realized. What Jenifer wanted -- and got -- was a live recording of her songs and her band with no overdubs. In other words: turn on the tape recorder, press 'record', and play the songs; what you hear is what happened.

Nothing slick, nothing fancy, nothing overdone or overblown. In other words: Just Jenifer's songs, Jenifer's voice and Jenifer's band. Taking a pronounced step away from the impressive layering on her previous record, "So High", OUTSKIRTS is, instead, spare and intimate, while avoiding being sparse or parched.

"This has been a longing and searching time," Jenifer says. "Searching for love, a new place and finding bits and pieces along the way." Or, as Jenifer puts it in "For You": "On the outside trying to get back to the inside, to you."

Now, however, after ten years of living in New York City, she's heading off to Austin. Though, really, this is a case of heading back, since Jenifer has a bit of a history with that Texas town. She performed there in 1998 with Jules Shear, and has been "in and around" Austin's South by Southwest music marathon five times.

And the next Jenifer Jackson album? "Oh, I have no idea how it will sound," says Jenifer. "But I can't wait to make it."

-Ivor Hanson