Jess Klein is one of the most interesting singer/songwriters I know. She has had two distinct periods of musical activity. The first began on the heels of the Lilith Fair tour, which launched the careers of many solo women musical artists and women-led bands. The second emerged following a period of difficult life-changing experiences including the death of a parent, the breakup of a major relationship, and the shift from a major recording label to an independent one. Klein's newest recording, Behind a Veil, comes out of the latter phase of her career.
The great news is that Jess Klein is back with an album full of beautifully written tunes in that distinctive, captivating voice. She's relocated from Boston to Austin, and has taken full advantage of some of the musical talent that part of the country is known for. Produced at Austin's Aerie Studio by musician, producer and songwriter, Mark Addison, the recording places Klein's voice front and center, where it belongs.
The CD opens with the stirring anthem, Behind a Veil. The bass and percussion-driven production is confident and sure. Klein's voice is strong in her declaration that she is a survivor in a "world fallen apart…where the devil and his dogs, or the angels wait for you." I think Klein has a little of both on her side.
Tell Me This is Love is a rocker about holding onto love while it is slipping away. Billy Masters and Mark Addison are superb on guitar. This one is both radio and iPod friendly.
Simple Love sums up some of the best things about this recording. It's got that unmistakable voice drawing you in, and it's got a story to tell that is both straight forward and deep at the same time. The lyrics are so good you wish you could have written them yourself:
All the hours I spent so lost
It's not easy to sum up a romance in a few words, but Klein does it here. This is one of the freshest ballads I have heard in a long time.
Mona has a beautiful melody and some stunning backing vocals by Wendy Colonna and Noelle Hampton. It talks about how love can be painful and how it can change your life. And…it talks about the kind of love that can haunt you and cause you to question everything about it except the power it holds over you.
If Jess Klein continues to write and produce material as strong as every song on Behind a Veil, she's got a long and prosperous career ahead of her. Listening to Klein sing is one of the singular pleasures in life. She has that unique ability that few singers have—to make you feel as if she is singing directly to you with an intimacy and familiarity of someone close. There is a pureness and authenticity to her voice that reaches in and grabs you from the very first note, and does not let go. Jess Klein is back with a group of songs worth hearing, worth knowing, worth playing again and again. With Behind a Veil, the veil is lifted and an artist emerges.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society and Roberta B. Schwartz.
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