January 1st, 2015

Jessie Kilguss – Devastate Me

   By Alex Teitz

                I recently saw an exhibit of an old master painter. In his youth he would pile on paint as if to make paintings sculptures in oil. As he grew older he applied a lighter touch knowing that it is not the quantity of oil, but how & where it is applied that makes a masterwork. The same can be said of Jessie Kilguss with Devastate Me. This is Kilguss’ fourth album and it reflects a lighter & more precise touch.
                Kilguss works with a skilled band. On guitar, keyboard and vocals is Jason Loughlin. On bass, keyboard and vocals is John Kengla. On drums, percussion and vocals is Bob Heath. All the songs were written by Kilguss and John Kengla. The arrangements were done by Kilguss and the band. Devastate Me was produced, engineered and mixed by Joe Rogers and mastered by Joe Lambert.
                Devastate Me is a lyric driven album. The overriding them is love lost either through time or physical distance. Kilguss’ vocals recall Emmylou Harris or Allison Krauss. The eight tracks in the album evoke a lush emotional landscape. The strongest arrangements are found in “A Safe Distance From You” & “You Didn’t Do Right By Me” with the former being guitar driven and the latter keyboard based. The strongest songs are “Red Moon”, “I’m You Prey” – which screams as an album single, and “City Map.” These songs wrap the listener in a world of lyrics that is poetical and familiar. “Don’t  Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight” is a reflection of Kilguss’ childhood on a farm and makes the memories fresh and golden.
                Jessie Kilguss is not a household name and that is a crime. Devastate Me is the work of an artist coming into her peak. Overproduction is not a problem here. A light but firm touch is evident throughout. For info visit www.JessieKilguss.com

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