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Jessy Wilson – Phase

August 10, 2019

I discovered Jessy Wilson by way of Gary Clark Jr. Jessy was the warm-up act for the Clark show I was going to see. In the olden days, you were introduced to a warm-up act at the venue. But in the age of streaming, it is easy and no investment to sample the act in advance.

I gave Jessy’s new album Phase a listen and I was immediately hooked. This seemed like the perfect set up act for Gary Clark Jr. The music was soulful with a touch of the blues. A little retro, but it had a modern sound too. There was a familiar sound to the production, but I couldn’t place it. I googled it and it turns out Patrick Carney of the Black Keys produced Phase. Now when I listened to Phase I hear the Black Keys fronted by a soulful female. A really cool amalgamation.

Speaking of Keys, it turns out Jessy got her big break in the business several years ago singing backup vocals for Alicia Keys. You can hear a bit of Alicia Keys in Jessy’s vocals, but without the slickness (which is a good thing).

I got to the Clark show a bit late, but just in time to catch the last half of Jessy’s set. She was sensational. She and her band sounded great. Visually she was arresting:

And she has the entertainment gene. She did exactly what a warm-up act is supposed to do: she earned some new fans. Despite only hearing half a short set, I am on the Jessy Wilson bandwagon.

If you are a fan of the many retro-soul bands on the scene but are seeking a more original and modern take, check out Jessy Wilson. If you are a fan of the Black Keys, you will enjoy this soulful and feminine twist on their sound.

If you need categories, I will say this is a combination of soul music and psychedelic rock. If you don’t need categories, file this under good music. In addition to being an engaging performer, Jessy is a songwriter. She is the whole package.  I hope to see Jessy headling a show soon.

Here is a little more background per V Magazine:

Despite this being her first solo album, the Nashville-based artist already has an impressive career behind her. After graduating from LaGuardia High School (yes, that one), Wilson began singing backup for Alicia Keys as well as writing songs with John Legend. She’s also worked with artists Kanye West, Meek Mill and will.i.am. Even without singing any notable songs herself, her talent for songwriting has earned her two Grammy nominations.

After the Clark show, I headed over to the merch tent and there was Jessy selling merch and signing LPs (it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll).  I couldn’t resist and picked up Phase.  I have been spinning it for the last few days –  it’s a great album and will be on my end of the year list.  If you want a quick sample, give “Love & Sophistication” a listen. My favorite song is “Cool One” – but there is not a stiff on the LP – this is an impressive debut.

From → Music Reviews

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