The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Tall and soft-spoken, with eyes blue as stone-washed denim, Jesse Reid's intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show.
Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid's place at the festival, it almost doesn't seem real. But Jane plants her bare feet on the Main Stage and delivers the performance of a lifetime, stopping Jesse's disappointed fans in their tracks: A star is born.
Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry's sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair. On tour with Jesse, Jane is so captivated by the giant stadiums, the late nights, the wild parties, and the media attention, that she is blind-sided when she stumbles on the dark secret beneath Jesse's music. With nowhere to turn, Jane must reckon with the shadows of her own past; what follows is the birth of one of most iconic albums of all time.
Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?
Music has always been a huge part of Jane Quinn’s life. Her band - the Breakers – never failed to captivate their audience with their bluesy style and soulful lyrics. It was just way to escape everyday life on Bayleen Island. If just for a little while.
Playing the Island Folk Fest was always something that the band looked forward to. But this year, things have changed. When the main act falls through, Jane leads the Breakers in a performance that shakes the foundation of the music world. And no one can deny that they have just witnessed the birth of a rising star.
“This is how it starts,” said Grace, getting out of the car.
Jesse Reid was set to headline the festival this year when a motorcycle accident forces him to drop out. Now recuperating at his family estate on Bayleen, he can feel the darkness creeping in. Until the day he finds Jane standing next to his piano.
When the Breakers sign with the same label, Jesse offers them the opening slot on his highly anticipated tour. The sparks fly both onstage and off between Jesse and Jane. And the fire that’s ignited will either catapult them to stardom or burn it all to the ground.
“Let the light go,
Emma Brodie’s Songs in Ursa Major is a heartbreaking and at times, maddening tale about the cost of fame. Jane is the ultra-talented and idealistic songstress that finds herself instantly at odds with the “business.” She faces sexism and adversity at every turn when all she really wants is to share her music with the world.
I found myself longing for something real for Jane. I wanted for all of her sacrifice to be worth it in the end. The stage was set for an epic romance with Jesse. But it just never played out.
The ending of this story truly surprised me – and not in a good way. I wanted so much more for each of these characters. Maybe that’s life or maybe that's just rock and roll…
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