Jessie Torrisi – brûler brûler
Category: Music In My Ears — dryvetyme @ 07:00
Guest Contributor: Jen Broadwell
A debut solo effort entitled brûler brûler has made a frontwoman out of New York native folk singer, Jessie Torrisi. Formerly a rock drummer for multiple New York City bands, Torrisi recently relocated to Austin, TX to go it alone. She has a dazzling alto range and, with the vocals underway in her song “Hungry Like Me,” I was reminded of Cat Power’s “Silver Stallion.” Other songs, such as “Cannonball,” exhibit a sensitivity to jazz, as that is often an orientation for a deep or raspy vocal.
Most of these songs refer, lyrically, to relationships. In “Hungry Like Me,” she seems to be voicing her desire for someone who will match her spontaneous, go-getter approach in search of her passions. “I need somebody who will jump a train/ I don’t need another man who only takes me half way/ I wanna ride into the dawn/ I will go anywhere for what I’m craving.” Furthermore, the phrase “hungry like me” is emphasized through repetition in a short acoustic breakdown, followed by a resumed series of in-unison hand-claps.
The trombone is an integral part of the song “X in teXas.” A slow upright bass pick is also prominent here. This song represents the termination of a relationship where, clearly and cleverly, the “x” refers to ‘ex.” Sit tight and you’ll also catch the gravity of the “low in lowdown” and the “o in over.”
An occasional cello crescendo and two acoustic finger pickers, combined with one high-strung instrument that incorporates a few hammer-ons and another harmony picker all help to tell Torrisi’s story of loss in the song “Breeze in Carolina.” She questions, “How can the breeze in Carolina be sweater than my love?” A similar struggle to retain one’s lover is illustrated in “So Many Miles,” where, after all her invested energy, she explains that she does not want to see everything fall apart. Unlike “Breeze in Carolina” and other slower narratives, such as “Storm Clouds” and “The Brighter Side,” “So Many Miles” is an upbeat track, similar to “Hungry Like Me.”
“The Brighter Side” serves as a beautiful ending to this tuneful account of wavering emotions. The wonderful piano-based ballad is reflective of all she’s experienced, as she informs us that she has come out on the other, brighter, side.
Overall, the plethora of instruments on hand for this record, combined with Torrisi’s captivating vocal finesse and influence from New Orleans jazz and New York City indie rock, have culminated into a fresh and pleasurable presentation. In addition, brûler brûler seems to have made a good first impression in Austin, as she has already found herself at the center of the city’s music scene, performing shows at Momo’s, The Saxon Pub, and La Zona Rosa.
Jen Broadwell is a music blogger from Houston, TX who runs the site Music Artiste. She enjoys attending local show and writing scene reviews and interviews. She also enjoys indie festivals and national indie shows and often posts her thoughts on such events, along with new music videos. Since her hobby doesn’t pay the bills. she works for the University of Houston in Development.