FULL BAND PERFORMANCE
Jessie Smith - EPK
Jessie Smith—a self-coined “swampy” vocalist whose work has won accolades ranging from national press and radio praise to hometown Georgia and Nashville acclaim-- has no fear of depth in her music. Instead, she professes an actual desire to wrap herself in it. “What I want in my own music is fearlessness,” she explains. “When I sing, I want my voice to sound like soul hollers.”
This emotional approach is no less in evidence in Smith’s album, Like the Sun, which marks her debut full-length collection of songs. The set was entirely written or co-written by Smith herself, and presents a cohesive snapshot of her taste for and unique take on old soul and blues music. Fans of Al Green, Gladys Knight, Billie Holiday, the Mavis Staple singers, Sam Cook, and Otis Redding will recognize Smith’s call to feel the pain, get messy with emotion, and emerge finally with a different take on life in general.
Indeed, it’s this appreciation for transformation that informs Like the Sun overall, from its title to its rich, poignant lyrical and melodic content. “There’s a line in my song ‘In the Morning,’ that says, ‘like the sun I rise,’ and that sums up this album well,” Smith notes. Smith’s vocals evoke this range admirably; earning critical raving commentary such as “powerful,” “amazing,” and “can’t keep that down.”
Aside from her creative work in music, Jessie is a vocal coach and piano instructor and has a passion for advocacy in the arena of body acceptance and mental health. “I want to be the soundtrack for anyone who has gone through pain - those who have felt it, are coming out of it, living with it. I want to help them find their joy, their meaning."
“Do I like Jessie Smith? Oh, yes, I do and I will tell you why. She’s got the music in her. Deep. Embedded. She sings like she has demons but not about demons. The last person I heard squeeze the music out the way she does is Cydney Robinson who had music coming out of her pores....
”Jessie Smith. A voice I had never heard before but one I am glad I finally did....
”Smith is roots deep and shows it at every turn. There are hooks and grooves all over the album, most pointing to the past but not tied to it. I hear blues and gospel and a little modern country.... I hear love and venom and joy in the mere performance of the music. Like she could not imagine a world without music. Like if it did not exist life would not be life. At times, I swear I can hear the hurt because when emotions and music hit just the right notes, it does hurt.” - No Depression http://nodepression.com/album-review/jessie-smith-tongue-and-groove)
"Jessie Smith's 10-song debut is a stunner...." - Roots Music Report, https://www.rootsmusicreport.com/reviews/view/532/album-review-of-like-the-sun-by-jessie-smith
“...Climbing out of the darkness as a distant relative to Marie Laveau or some other swamp priestess, she reaches down to someplace to unleash an impassioned swamp howl that convincingly goes to some places that are so dark you might just want to stay in the cheap seats. The problem with that is you get so hypnotized and mesmerized, you’ll find yourself sneaking down to the front row. Betcha she knows what they threw off the Tallahatchie bridge as well. This is the kind of left field date that soars to the peak of underground hitdom. Killer stuff throughout.” - Midwest Record
"The first thing Nashville Offbeat noticed was Jessie’s passion and power onstage. The proverbial electricity was running right through her entire body as she clapped and stomped along to the beat (the whole room could hear it even without a mic!). She had passing tourists stopping to stand in the doorway to watch her vibrant performance...." - Nashville Offbeat https://www.nashvilleoffbeat.com/new-blog/2017/7/15/jessie-smith-at-tin-roof-on-demonbreun
"She seemed to be enjoying herself so much, that I felt a natural inclination to enjoy myself as well. Even in between songs, Jessie’s banter with her husband and with the audience added to the experience and proved that her music is undeniably her, and made it one of the more memorable moments of the night...." — http://wpgu.com/sofar-sounds-champaign-review-1-20-18/