Jessie Baylin Lights Up Dallas' HOB With Poppy-Jazz

Baylin captivates, engages HOB crowd

Smoky-voiced songstress Jessie Baylin took the stage at Dallas' House of Blues Oct. 24 in support of not only high-energy singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson but her new album Firesight as well.

I was very much looking forward to seeing a full set by Baylin after being teased during her incredibly short three-song set at Austin's South By Southwest music festival last March.

As she did at SXSW, Baylin captivated the crowd quickly with her easy, effervescent personality and good looks, while injecting enough interaction with the crowd into her setlist to give the audience a sense of familiarity with her -- even if they had never heard of her.

Baylin serenades the crowd while occasionally stepping away from the microphone to strut childlike about the stage to the beat of her poppy-jazz -- think Norah Jones or Diana Krall but with much more charm and a pop edge.  The comparison is actually an easy one to make since Baylin collaborated with Grammy-winning artist, and Jones' co-writer, Jesse Harris on both of her albums.

The result is a very inviting and expressive collection of personal songs that is masterfully produced and even better live.

"It's a collection of a bunch of moments in my life," said Baylin. "I'm just trying to be as honest as I can, and hopefully people will connect with the songs and recognize moments of their own life in them."

Crafting those songs is a unique process for Baylin, who said she finds inspiration in a variety of places -- even the shower.

"This is all material that I have pulled directly from my journal," Baylin said. "I find I hear the most music when I'm driving or washing my hair -- I guess I'm not really focusing on anything and I'll just start humming something or singing."

Baylin explains that the name for her second album stems from an inn her parents owned in her native New Jersey.  In early childhood Baylin would sing for customers at the Fire Sight Inn, nuturing a fire that would one day send the maturing singer/songwriter to Los Angeles and ultimately her adopted hometown of Nashville, where she recorded the album.

"That's why I wanted Firesight to be the title of the record," Baylin explains. "It's where I come from, and it’s who I am."

Additionally, a big part of who she is is a gracious and gifted singer/songwriter who appears to be a bit shell-shocked at her successes thus far.  She, I think appropriately, lists one of her highlights as playing in what is quickly becoming a very popular tour -- The Hotel Cafe Tour, which is named after a small, intimate venue in Los Angeles turning out great musicians almost faster than they can be heard. Baylin, ever grateful, pays heavy respect to the tour and the venue what she describes as having a speakeasy feel with incredible panini sandwiches.

"It's instantly vibey, the way they set it up with the stage and the lights -- you have to enter through a back alley -- it's like a little secret," said Baylin.

For the uninitiated, Baylin recommends "Lose Your Mark," "See How I Run," or "I'll Cry For The Both Of Us," as good choices for a first listen. For the record, I would like to add "The Glitter" and "Contradicting Words" to that list.

If you missed the show, don't fret.  Baylin has a very aggressive touring schedule, and while nothing is confirmed yet, I would expect her back in North Texas before next summer.

To hear more from my interview with Baylin, watch the video to the left.  For more information on touring or to hear some her Baylin's music -- visit her MySpace page or her Web site.  The links are below:

Jessie Baylin's MySpace page
Jessie Baylin's Web site

Contact Us