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Jessie Kilguss - Nocturnal Drifter

Nocturnal Drifter

Jessie Kilguss

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Well, Jessie's back and she's remained subtly weird, existentially wistful, and trancily melodic but not quite so fully as in her debut disc (here). She indexes with musicians like Dudley Saunders (here) and Kathleen Grace (here) by virtue of employing vaulting beauty alongside lyrics and compositions forcing the listener to reconsider what he or she thought was being heard. Once more Kilguss is accompanied by the superb Super Buddha (Alan Cox?) making Nocturnal Drifter a sumptuous outing, symphonic in its lushness, faeryland shimmery in many layers and colorations, and then classically a night-rain graveyard in its chillier moments.

The singing voice says pop and soft rock; the instrumentation recalls prog, rock, and cabaret; the rhythms are a Waring blend of old school and techno offshoots; and the imagery is Victorian bumping into NYC. This isn't a CD aping Judy Collins or Christopher Cross but a case of Kate Bush meeting Bjork and Leslie Duncan in a therapy session. I Don't Need People is a mellifluous masterpiece, haunting, eerie, sad, and mesmerizing. If it ever gets imported into a movie, the single will become a million seller. It's also emblematic of the less arch nature of this second release, the first having been more Fellini-esque.

Kilguss possesses a beautiful voice, light and airy, floating like a hummingbird gently wafting in the breeze, but there's a lot more than pretty pictures and doilies in her. Thank God she teamed with this Super Buddha cat because they work magnificently together. I suspect it will take most listeners several auditions before they decide what to make of her beyond that entrancing voice. I myself am still not sure, and so, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to another listen…to both CDs.

Track List:

  • Gristmill
  • Americana
  • A Little Place Behind My Eyes
  • Time on my Hands
  • I Don't Need People
  • This Time
  • 31
  • Marie Antoinette Song
  • Something About Lonely
  • Strangers on a Train
All songs written by Jessie Kilguss and Super Buddha.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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