Jess Jocoy – Let There Be No Despair
While Jess isn’t an intriguing singer like Marianne Faithful or Patti Smith she has the faithful tonality of past female singer-songwriters who tread lightly on poignancy with skill. As exemplified by the late Judee Sill, Eva Cassidy & veterans Judy Collins & Kathleen Edwards. I mention them instead of more of today’s contemporary female singers because many present-day vocalizers are influenced by these names (whether they know it or not). In many cases, the newer voices sing in a more nonchalant, melancholy manner. Except for the country-roots & Americana performers.
Jess Jocoy is not one of these. She’s an artist for listening. The lyrics are poetic, the voice itself an instrument of technique. “I Will Be Glad,” leads off the 41-minute CD & it’s immediate that this young lady is an original following her own inspired path. There is no showboating, nothing is performed with bombastic fervor. It’s as if each song is one of her children. “Let There Be No Despair,” is a slow haunting melody that follows an expressive route with low bowed cello as effective as the thud of a bass line.
It amazes me that an artist such as this isn’t signed to a major label. Obviously, the majors are only in it for the money, the instant gratification marketing of mainstream avenues. Norah Jones momentarily was a major singer with a similar singing style, but I’ve seen her fall off over the years to remain with her artistry over her commercialization. The same can be said about Jewel, Joan Osborne & perhaps Alanis Morrisette. Tanita Tikaram is an amazing artist as well, performing & recording for years & not a household name. Adele is fine but she isn’t mining an original style. Bird York did it years before.
Jess Jocoy (vocals/acoustic guitar/backing vocals) has provided an elegant set of 10-songs strung together with class, luxuriance & imagination. “Always,” & “The One I’m Living For,” is perhaps the most chart-possible with Jess’ excellent singing, sharp instrumentation & emotional melody. These songs follow a gentleness vocally of the 70s band Mark-Almond (“What Am I Living For”).
Let There Be No Despair (Drops May 20–Independent) produced by Brandon Bell & Jess includes players – Lydia Luce (violin/viola), Ethan Ballinger (acoustic & electric guitar/mandolin/banjo), Brian Allen (electric bass/bowed bass/cello) & Matt Alger (drums/ percussion).
“Two Shoulders,” shows impeccable diversification with a near-Alison Krauss whisper with all its charm & precise emotion. Jess is an intuitive artist who could probably turn jazz chanteuse — a Diana Krall style if need be. She has that vocal blush. I like the way Ms. Jocoy pronounces her words & holds vowels. Her intonation & phrasing is impeccable. A listen to “Waiting To Exhale,” & the demo “Common Kindness” would provide the proof.
Photo courtesy of Sam Wiseman/Jess’ website. CD available @ https://www.jessjocoy.com/about-1