The band Jessie Rae, named after the bandleader Joan Meyer’s grandmother (first name) and her sister (middle name), sustain a funky, blues, rock, reggae beat, with dashes of country throughout their infectious new release Out Of The Blue.
Meyer’s vocal style is reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt. With rich and smooth tones full of soul drenched from-the-gut inflections, she follows the one-two punch of the coordinated rhythm section comprised of herself and Phil Hornik (bass), and Kipp Crawford (drums), punctuated by stinging guitar lines from the axes of Jim Bronson and Lauren Semler. Both lead guitar players sound seasoned on all accounts throughout this solid session.
The production and mix are very good accentuating the strong points of the band’s sound and varying styles. The first three tracks are addicting, "Blue Armor," "Can You Explain" and "Around Here," are filled with funky hooks that latch on and never let you go. Meyer’s vocals are right on time and perfectly keyed for the music; she sounds laid back but expressive, allowing the blues influence to take precedence in nearly every track. Although other influences are evident in their sound, the blues seems to be the common denominator everything else stems from. This one all-important factor actually makes each track stand on its own with the various flavors added to the mix. "Say What You Mean" would be a nice choice for a single to push the band into the different markets they fit into, which would be contemporary adult, pop, blues and pop for that particular track. Ironically the one instrumental on the entire CD is titled "Affectionate Soul," which I could see having plenty of great lyrical content, yet the title fits the track very well, it’s a warm and rich tapestry of sounds marked by stellar musicianship.
There is nothing lacking in the variety department on this CD. Everyone uses his or her talents at the optimal level, which in fact became obvious to me early on listening to this music. I am glad to say a good chunk of this CD fits darn snuggly into the da blues-rock category and amongst others, and that’s alright with me.