About a month ago I was introduced to Jesse Terry and had the privilege of seeing him at one of my favorite venues. I had gone to see the opening act and avoided listening to more than a couple of Jesse’s songs before-hand, so I could experience the rest live first. What an experience it was; Jesse Terry showed himself to be a master of the storyteller song, with a soft-spoken stage presence that told the story with nothing more than his guitar and a microphone. I connected with the music, my wife cried when he played “Noise”, and Jesse earned himself a couple new fans.
At that show Jesse had early copies of his new ‘Natural’ album, and after hearing him sing in a man-and-guitar setting, I knew this stripped down album was going to be right up my alley. What I didn’t expect was that this was really a “Jesse and friends” production with nearly every single song having incredible harmonies with some very talented female artists; ‘Natural’ includes songs with Dar Williams, Sarah Darling, Kim Richey, Liz Longley, Cary Ann Hearst, Erin Rae, and Annie Clements. Every one of these ladies brings a special touch to the songs they are featured on, especially the ones that you’ve heard before with just Jesse.
“Stripped down” is how you will consistently see this album described, and with good reason; each song is really hinging on the lyrics and vocals, with limited instrumental accompaniment. Not only does each song thrive on this limited interference production, but the whole experience puts the listener in a meditation-like mood. When my son asks to listen to some “Dadda music” as he falls asleep, this album has been my go-to for the last month. ‘Natural’ could easily pull double duty as your Sunday afternoon reading music or your Friday date-night soundtrack.
I don’t like to break down an album to each song, but I really enjoy the versions of “Noise” and “Stargazer” on this one. Both songs really took to the minimalist approach, and the addition of Dar Williams in each really takes them to the next level. The vocal-centered sound really helps pull the words out of each song, and they take a new life as more of a story than a song. When I think of storyteller folk music, this is what I think of; the story is center stage, told in a beautiful way, with just the right instrumental accompaniment.
Way up in New England, the ability to experience an act live before knowing their music is rare, but what a treat it was. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this guy has the storyteller game down pat; his authenticity shows both in his music and watching him interact with fans after the show, he’s just a really sweet guy. He and my wife talked for a bit, and in classic small-world style, Jesse’s grandfather actually lives only a couple towns over from us. Go figure.
Jesse has several previous releases, including 2017’s ‘Stargazer’. He can be found online at http://www.jesseterrymusic.com/.
Please also check out all the great ladies who contributed to this album, I think anyone who enjoys Jesse’s album will enjoy their music as well.