Thursday, December 3, 2015
During her time on the Delaware Arts scene, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Jessica Graae performed, taught, and released her first album, 2013’s Gypsy Blood. Her newly-released second album, Sea Dream, opens as you might expect: with a dreamy, atmospheric song of the sea, Sea’s Siren (featuring Kiley Ryan and Chico Huff).
Graae’s lilting, wide-ranging voice is at once folksy and classical, accompanied by acoustic guitar, strings, percussion (sometimes) and the occasional keyboard.
It may sound minimalist, but there is plenty going on musically; the third track, It’s You Again (featuring Chico Huff, Jim Salamone, and Randy Bowland) works Graae’s acoustic style into a catchy indie pop tune, the kind that would be at home on college radio. Another up-tempo track, Hyphenate (featuring Philip D’agostino and Jim Salamone) has a country vibe, with its singalong-style “scoop you up like sweet ice cream” chorus.
There is a thread of calmly infectious catchiness throughout even the slower-tempo songs — songs like Bring the Rain (featuring Jim Salamone, Chico Huff, Bob Huff and Randy Bowland) will stay in your head long after the song ends.
Back to front, the album flows, moving between acoustic styles without losing its distinct ambiance. At first, Sea Dream feels like an album filled with sadness, but as you stay with it, it feels like resilience.
Sea Dream is available for purchase on bandcamp and Amazon, and can be streamed on Spotify.
Jessica has two more shows in December after the Album Release: Opening for Norman Taylor and his Blue Soul Band at the Bus Stop Music Cafe, Pitman, NJ, on December 19, and at Andrea Clearfield's Salon in Philadelphia on December 20.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Facing the audience in the Danby Chapel, Jessica beamed a hundred-watt smile which told the audience this was the moment of the day for which she lived – her art.
Her voice has a wide range and she soared through Handel and Mozart. She then switched to a selection of introspective poems set to music by Johannes Brahms, showing her ability to interpret in a totally different style.
A quick and vamping romp through Carousel selections had the audience humming. The man next to me, Joe Ferrare, was delighted with the versatility and the variety of selections.
Jessica then picked up her guitar and accompanied herself on some quiet Spanish love songs, leaving plaintive minor echoes in our heads as we set out in the dull, dark rain of an October night.
When not singing, giving voice lessons, or working her full-time office job, Jessica also writes for the Community News and for this blog, She is a soloist at Trinity Episcopal Church and will sing in the Schubert Mass in C, Opus 48 on Sunday, November 1 at 10:30 a.m. She will also sing Tiny Tim in A Gilbert and Sullivan Christmas Carol and Dell in Gift of the Magi at Unitarian Universalist Church in Media PA on December 4,5, 6 and at the Arden Gild Hall on December 18 and 19.