The lovely Jessie Baylin played an intimate set at Schuba’s Tavern February 26 to kickstart her ‘Little Spark’ tour.
It was almost smooth sailing as the band (joined by openers The Watson Twins) took to the stage Sunday night, only to be followed by the drummer sprinting off into the crowd and back again. “The show is supposed to start now but our drummer forgot his kick-drum pedal in the dressing room,” Baylin chuckled and thanked the crowd for choosing her show over Billy Crystal and the Academy Awards Ceremony. With the speedy return of the drummer and pedal, Baylin launched into an enchanting performace that had the crowd cheering until the very end.
The set was heavy with new tracks from Baylin’s third album, Little Spark, having her croon out lyrics like “I gave him Arizona and I took the California coast. Don’t know if I’ll stay there but I’ll stay until my heart gets broke […] there’s a river that runs through Yuma, he’s the river that runs through me,” from ‘Yuma’ and “I’ve been looking for you in the dark. Give me just a little spark,” from the title track with an energetic longing and an honest hope as she danced around and rocked her hips in leather pants. (Down boys; she’s married to Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill). The songstress beamed throughout as she shook her tamborine with conviction as the twangy fuzz of Dixie soul reverberated throughout the room. She threw in a couple tracks from the ‘Pleasure Center Ep’ which was recorded on a four track cassette and is available for FREE to download, fan favorite ‘Leave Your Mark, and a Sonic Youth cover for good measure (also on PC EP) to round out the night.
The recently released Little Spark (Blonde Rat) sounds of lost time and nostalgia while still being accesible to the iPod generation. Murmuring echoes of heartache and lonliness fill the eleven tracks but are sung with such beauty that the album doesn’t get too heavy or muddled. The sound is retro enough in the way it was recorded but showcases a more comfortable and confident Baylin – perhaps due in part to her split from her previous record label (Verve) and taking control of her sound production on her own label. With the help of heavy hitters like Richard Swift, Kevin Augunas and Jimmie Haskell (arranged Bridge Over Troubled Water) Baylin has finally brought her sound to the next level while looking to the past. The Jersey native has been compared to Dusty Springfield, who she sites as one of her greatest influences for this album, along with Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach but this new sound remains all her own.
Check out Jessie Baylin on tour now! Tickets still available in select cities.
Follow her on Twitter @JessieBaylin and Tumblr.