REVIEW: Alyssa Jacey “Alyssa Live” is Polished Chanteuse

Reviews

Alyssa Jacey – Alyssa Live

Performed Sept. 16h, 2020 with 80 socially distanced fans at the newly built Argyros Performing Arts Center in Sun Valley, ID the LP’s 32 cuts (14 are songs & the rest stage banter which Alyssa charmingly succeeds with).

Alyssa Live (Independent-Drops March 26) is a showcase by a San Diego, CA singer-songwriter who takes her music seriously.

Time to dissect. First: The live program offers Alyssa spare & solo with acoustic guitar in a set that’s well-recorded. Generally, in her own compositions, she plays mature with upbeat & optimistic tunes. She’s consistent with good vocal tonality, applies her voice well to the material & on “Heart Breathe,” comes off slightly breathy like Sarah McLachlan & is for discerning tastes.

Alyssa speaks well & her between-song banter is friendly & joyful in an early Joni Mitchell voice. 

“You Think You Know Somebody,” is feistier, & intriguing. Could sound better with a full band arrangement. This song falls into an Eva Cassidy genre. Always in a strong assertive voice, it does fall into juvenile vocalese at times despite the song’s substance. There’s a delicacy that Alyssa pulls off. This song has well-chosen lyrics but a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” possesses better vocal inflections & is rendered in a different vocal style from her originals. Perhaps the change in the Stapleton lyric structure affects Jacey’s showcase – nonetheless, it suits her well.

She says she covers many genres. She should focus better. It’s good to dabble but Ms. Jacey is better suited to a more folky, pop & contemporary mainstream genre. She doesn’t have an authentic blues or country voice. Many genres only pigeonhole an artist. They’re put in a box by record companies & PR firms as directionless. They like to know who the audience is to market to. In this case, diversification doesn’t help in the music business world. It’s what held the late Eva Cassidy back. 

 

“Drowning Me,” – Alyssa applies jazz possibilities. Maybe not a traditionalist but definitely a polished chanteuse. There are nuances Ms. Jacey just doesn’t have yet. But could – if she applies herself. Some tunes are mediocre by following basic structures with clichés & simple lyrics. Alyssa needs to slow down her songwriting (she’s written 400 songs? But how good could they be)? She needs to focus. Shape a definitive style. “The Beatles’ “Come Together” is a misstep. However,…

“When You Were Here,” is wonderful. The song premise is poignant & she avoids the trappings of sappiness. Her voice is excellent, the storyline well-constructed. But this still needs to be fleshed out. “Love Is All You Need,” succeeds. The progression could later be produced as a bolero. Add instruments as it proceeds. This is not rap as much as the basis of The Nails’ narrative: “88 Lines About 44 Women.”

“Stand by Me,” — a much better cover than The Beatles. Deeper tone with good inflection. Ms. Jacey is worth a toss of the dice.

Her 73-minute CD is available iTunes & https://alyssajacey.com/

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