Sometimes you come across good music purely by chance, well that is my experience. Recently I attended the tenth anniversary dinner for the wonderful York children’s charity the Island. It was a fabulous evening in every way. One of those ways was the musical entertainment, Jess Gardham. She played in the lobby as guests arrived and even with all the noisy hubbub and low volume she sounded like she had something special. Then just before we ate Jess kicked out a stunning acoustic version of the Black Eyed Peas “Where Is The Love” that was full of soulful emotion and anger at the world. Every guest that evening received a gift bag with information about the Island including a flash drive, chocolate and many other things. But my favourite give away was a copy of Jess Gardham’s CD ‘Rise Not Fall’.
Jess at times sounds a little like Joan Armatrading, but her yearning, soaring vocal style give her a very clear identity that is Jess Gardham. All six songs on this CD were written by Jess and she plays percussion and acoustic guitar. I get a sense that some of the lyrics are autobiographical and she sings them like she really mean it. I certainly would not like to be the protagonist of “Caught Out”. The title track “Rise And Fall” is my favourite tune here after a few listens. I especially love the positive emotions displayed and the determination that Jess conveys so easily. She has played support for an amazing array of artists including; Paul Carrack, Martin Simpson, David McAlmont, Wilko Johnson and KT Tunstall to name just a few. Her talent is not just that of a great singer songwriter though, Jess is also an actress and has appeared in stage productions that include ‘Hairspray’, ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ and ‘Ghost: The Musical’. To cap all that she was also a quarter finalist in BBC One’s MasterChef 2018! Check this talented woman out now, you will not be disappointed!
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