There are times in all relationships when you drive each other crazy. Maybe someone drinks or smokes a little too much or complains about their weight but bulldozes junk food every night. But despite their annoying and frustrating habits, we don’t leave. This is the theme of North Battleford, SK’s alt-folk artist Jackie K’s “We Can’t Quit,” the third track off of first full-length album, She’s A Story.
In a first for them in their relationship, Jackie K and her husband, Tom Kroczynski, wrote “We Can’t Quit” last summer. A difficult couple of years inspired the couple to put together a country duet track that symbolized their enduring commitment to one another.
“We had been smoking cigarettes on and off during the pandemic, and it was time to stop,” Jackie K said. “The last few years have been hard, so much additional pressure. The song is about making the decision to keep trying to be better but also to know when it’s time to cut each other some slack. Life can be hard enough.”
Jackie K and Tom take turns serenading listeners with examples of their bothersome behaviors, then outlining why everything stays the same, even when they try to change for their spouse. But what might separate others hasn’t divided these two – their true vices are each other.
“It’s just a fun country song with more than a little bit of truth telling!” Jackie K explained. “Oh, and we did quit smoking, but I still eat too many chips and he’s got a mouth on him!”
This honest tune is one of several storytelling songs within She’s A Story. Recorded in Saskatoon by producer Randy Woods and mastered at Mojito Mastering in Toronto, Jackie K is responsible for the album’s vocals, keys, and trumpet, with Tom providing bass. Kyle Krysa plays the project’s drums, Connor Newton is on sax, and Woods sprinkles in some magic on guitar.
Released on March 8th to coincide with International Women’s Day, She’s A Story tells the tales of women, some personal to Jackie K and others abstractly relevant to the world’s women and the lives they lead.
“The stories belong to women,” she said. “Women’s roles have changed. Things are different now than they have been. It’s harder, it’s more work. If somebody can relate to an aging parent, or being queen of their castle, that will make me happy.”
“We Can’t Quit” is sandwiched in the center of the album, introducing the complexities many women live with in their relationships.
“She’s eating, he’s swearing, she’s drinking too much beer, he’s smoking – there is frustration amidst the underlying love and support that is there in any relationship,” Jackie K said. “We love John Prine’s ‘In Spite of Ourselves’ and used to sing that a lot. We certainly took some cues from his expert songwriting.”
Based in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Jackie K has represented the big skies of Treaty Six territory for a long time. She often incorporates her love of the prairies and its people into her music, and her creativity has taken her around the world, most recently to Ireland in January 2023 to showcase at Your Roots Are Showing with Tom.
When she isn’t writing or performing, Jackie K is teaching. Jackie teaches band and guitar to high school students at North Battleford Comprehensive High School, paying it forward to help the next generation express themselves through sound.
Her passion for music is evident in every anecdote on the album, and the culmination of her cooperation with her husband aligns perfectly with Jackie K’s plan for the project. Check out “We Can’t Quit” and She’s A Story – both available now.