Wednesday, February 17, 2010

JESSIE TORRISI – Bruler, Bruler

JESSIE TORRISI – Bruler, Bruler

Jessie Torrisi is originally from Philadelphia but since she lived in New York as a professional jazz drummer for the past decade, she gets props as part of that music scene — from which she has emerged as a singer-songwriter in her new-found home in Austin. Jessie is engaging and fun, and her energy electric. For a drummer, she is a pretty good singer — one that others are taking notice of around the country. Jessie rooked new friend Alissa Schram into dusting off her old cello and getting back into the groove (taking her away from her day job only now and then), and pieced together one after another group of outstanding players for her various shows about town (including at times multi-instrumentalists Rob Jewett and Carley Wolf). Indeed, Jessie’s shows are sometimes circus-like as musicians switch instruments, she gets everyone involved in singing, and that includes the entire audience. Like the record title says, she just loves to burn and burn brighter.

The first cut is her signature song, “Hungry Like Me,” which I recall singing with her in an impromptu performance indoors at the Irie Bean months ago. Then there are the “travelogue” songs — “X in TeXas,” “Breeze in Carolina,” “Runaway Train,” and “So Many Miles.” “Cannonball” has an old-time Broadway feel — or better, off- off- Broadway, Bette Midler style. Which is to say this is a showtune dance number (I can even envision this interpreted by a mime) — and if you look at the waiflike Jessie on the cover of the EP, you can also see her with broom in hand making mischief wherever she flies (somewhere between Eastwick and Practical Magic). “Runaway Train” has a calliope feel, and “Storm Clouds” showcases Jessie’s vocal strength. “So Many Miles” is a true ballad — slow dance music. “The Brighter Side” encapsulates Jessie’s own hope for her future — keep your chin up and full of smiles and magic … the piano opens up and then Jessie sings that, “I’ve been down so long I can’t tell the sky from the ground….” But then there is her inspiration, of whom she sings – “It seems you’ve been through everything and never lose your shine…..” A song of hope and depth — a fitting ending to a nice debut, a song that tells us she has something real to go home to after the circus tent goes down.

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