Earlier this year we were privileged to attend the launch for “Here We Go Again”, the debut album by Jess and the Bandits, in London venue, “The Social”. It was a great night out, with the band’s fans and press filling the room to bursting. Jess and the band had everyone bobbing (no room for dancing!), especially with crowd favourite, “My Name is Trouble”.
Speaking last year about their album, Jess said,
“We got a little of that country-rock feel, and then we’ve got those really pretty country ballad sort of songs,
“I spent ten days in Nashville hoping to write enough songs, and left with more than I could put on the record. I’m really excited about it.”
We’ve been looking forward to this album for ages, so we were very excited to be able to review it ahead of release.
Opening with “Ready Set”, we’re left in no misapprehension about what this album is all about. A rocky, guitar, definitely country song, it segues nicely into “Love Like That”, which is reminiscent of another band we can’t quite put our finger on. Dixie Chicks maybe?
Following this comes “You Can’t Stop Me”, a powerfully strong song, showcasing the rich vocals of Jess Clemons. Similarly “Wanted Man” shows just how BIG a voice she has.
Next up is “Nitty Gritty”, which we found to be very empowering. “It ain’t complicated, we’re all the same when it comes down to the nitty gritty”. Basically, we’re all the same inside, we all put our pants on one leg at a time…a great message in today’s world of branding and body-shaming.
The love song “If You Can’t Be Mine” leads into “What If”, a slow tempo country song with a gorgeous slide guitar. “What If” is beautiful; lyrically and musically. The line, “I don’t want to say ‘What if'” was particularly touching.
The crowd favourite at the album launch, “My Name is Trouble” is next on the album. A ripping country song, it’s got a great video too:
Sung from the viewpoint of a very strong woman, “Drunk on Me” has the protagonist giving the man an ultimatum – he can choose to get drunk on whiskey (etc) or he can get drunk on her…hopefully he chose the latter!
The fast-paced “Getting Into Something” and lead track “Here We Go Again” are full of catchy hooks and are warm, listen-again songs, while “Single Tonight” makes you want to get up and dance. It’s the last song, a beautiful heartfelt cover of Glenn Campbell’s “Witchita Lineman” that brings me to tears though. That’s not surprising however, as the original always does the same to me. Jess however does the song more than justice.