Jessica Rhaye & the Ramshackle Parade – Sunshine Baby
This young lady opens with a shuffle-type tune summoned from another era. But like Maria Muldaur, she has the right voice to suggest vintage stylings. “Sally,” & “Snakes & Ladders,” have a somewhat laid-back suggestive tone rendered convincingly. The vocal nuisances & range are the secret ingredient. There’s an element of entertainment in her voice even without seeing her. The band’s Spanish-gypsy-flavored guitar tint creates an interesting atmosphere.
The Canadian Jessica Rhaye (lead vocals/acoustic & electric guitar/piano) creates an intriguing, compelling performance much the same as the most dramatic moments of Kate Bush. Yet, Jessica isn’t a progressive-rock or avant-garde type. Her music is more accessible. Adorned with descriptive storytelling lyrics & soaring vocals that don’t profess to showboat as much as accentuate skill.
“I Feel Fine,” is a song that’s simply an exciting listen. Rhaye’s voice is like an instrument since it jockeys up, then down & all around the melody. Accompanied by the precision of attentive musicians who change lanes on a whim, speed up, slow down & constantly create a mood within the diverse blends. All locked in tight. Jessica’s a song wrangler – she controls the ambiance & emphasis. Performed with ballet-like finesse.
The 11-cut, 44-minute CD Sunshine Baby (Dropped May 5-Independent) was produced by Dale Murray with Jessica & the Ramshackle Parade. With “Cold Love,” there’s a slight detour into Jewel’s/Paula Cole’s vocalizing territory but she manages it with assertive power & glossed it with a purr of strings (arranged/recorded on 4 songs by Jon Estes & performed by Jon & Liz Estes in Nashville, TN). Impressive song.
A little jazzier & easy listening is “Sunshine Baby,” & “I Won’t Break.” These come with a breathy angst-tonality similar to Canadian vocalist Sarah McLachlan. Good accompaniment. Jessica does blend her vocalizing with skill. These two songs are for selective tastes since they may appeal more to younger ears than older ones.
“An Apology,” & “Breathing In, Breathing Out,” is Jessica Rhaye as Jessica Rhaye. Exceptional ballads that are well written & sung & establish Ms. Rhaye’s true style compared to no one. The arrow is in the center of the bullseye with these.
Highlights – “Sally,” “Snakes & Ladders,” “I Feel Fine,” “Cold Love,” “Sunshine Baby,” “I Won’t Break” “An Apology,” “Breathing In, Breathing Out” & “Reaching Out To You.”
Musicians – Dale Murray (12-string electric guitar/12-string acoustic guitar/electric guitar/nylon string acoustic guitar/banjo/piano/organ & synth), Bill Preeper (vocals/electric guitar/acoustic & 12-string acoustic guitars/accordion/mandolin/banjo & autoharp), Sandy MacKay (vocals/electric & upright bass/upright bowed bass/piano/banjo & mandolin), Chris Braydon (electric baritone guitar/electric guitar/guitar loop & vocals) & Jordi Comstock (drums/percussion).
Color image courtesy of Jessica’s website. Song samples & CD @ Bandcamp + https://www.jessicarhaye.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Video Premiere: Jessica Rhaye I Feel Fine