Introducing....Jess & The Bandits

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Country group Jess and the Bandits released their debut album as a group today. Here We Go Again holds thirteen tracks, including some previously released as solo tracks by Jessica.

By far the best track of the release is the closing track, a cover of Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman. The most stripped back track on the album it was a really good choice to close Here We Go Again. The production stays relatively true to that of the original and has a strong piano focus that really suits Jess' emotive vocal delivery. A lot of listeners will most likely know of the track and Jess does well, closing the album on a memorable note.

Jess has a powerful vocal and unfortunately the producer's choices make her vocal feel a little overpowering at various points throughout the album, also meaning that a lot of the tracks ultimately have the same feel. Here We Go Again, for instance, has a really lovely message behind it and Jess' vocals are really strong in the verses, it just feels as though the chorus becomes a little vocally overpowering.

As a stand alone track Love Like That is really strong as it is, however, in combination with the rest of the album it becomes slightly overshadowed. The rocky production evident in the rest of the album continues throughout the track and unfortunately the listener loses the really touching lyrical story, lines such as "give him a little more than you take" and "he loves you with all of his heart, don't you know you got a love like that" are delivered with a lot of emotion but the production does nothing to highlight that or to really grab the listener's attention.

Track listing....
1) Ready Set
2) Love Like That
3) You Can't Stop Me
4) Wanted Man
5) Nitty Gritty
6) If You Can't Be Mine
7) What If
8) My Name Is Trouble
9) Drunk On Me
10) Getting Into Something
11) Here We Go Again
12) Single Tonight
13) Wichita Lineman

I was recently able to catch up with lead singer Jessica Clemmons and ask her some questions....

You have released music as Jessica Clemmons before, what prompted the development into Jess & The Bandits?
It was a natural development. I met the Bandits in 2012 and from that moment on we started working together. When I went from pop to country music and need a full band, I knew they were the guys for the job. We had so much fun together that it only made sense to make it official and become a band.
You performed as part of London's Country To Country Festival last month, did you find any difference between that and your own solo shows?
I think there was a big difference in my own performance. It's like something has clicked and fallen into place. Although I always try to put on a good show regardless, having the band with me brings it up a step. There is this energy and electricity now that you see in our show that I'm not sure was there when I was just me on my own. Both getting great reactions from the crowd but this year was overwhelming! 
You have played multiple shows in the UK before, do you find there is a difference between a US audience and a UK audience?
At the end of the day I think audiences are the same when it comes to people loving music and wanting to hear great songs. Being from a particular country doesn't matter. Something that is different is, because the UK is fairly new to the game when it comes to country music, there is a lot more excitement about it. In the US we have more country music than we know what to do with, so it's nice to be able to be introducing people in the UK to a style of music they have never considered before.
Which artist would you like to collaborate with and why?
There are a few but I think Sam Hunt would be an amazing choice. We both do a contemporary style of country music and his song writing is fantastic. I think a collaboration would be out of this world!
 Which song do you wish you had written and why?
I'm asked this question a lot and every time I go blank! It would probably have to be "Need You Now" from Lady Antebellum. Not only is it a clever song but it was a massive hit all over the world.
Did you find the track listing for your album was easy to pick?
Yeah for the most part they were all pretty obvious choices. 
Were there any tracks not included on your album that you would have liked to have?
There are a few songs I would have loved to have included. Who knows, maybe they will be part of a deluxe album later in the year! 
Which is your favourite track you've ever released?
It would have to be "What If". That is probably one of the most personal songs I've ever written. Every time I perform it live or I hear it, I fall in love with it all over again. 
What are your favourite and least favourite parts about being a musician?
My favourite thing would be having the opportunity to move people with music. To help someone through a difficult time or to be a part of their day by them playing our songs is an honour. The least favourite part would have to be the financial inconsistencies. This isn't usually something that people talk about but artists sacrifice a lot to be able to do what they love. Sometimes the pay isn't great and sometimes it's amazing but in the end, it is worth it to wake up knowing you are doing what you love. I've always said, I don't need to be rich or famous but as long as I can pay the bills and keep making and performing my music, then that is all I want. Now if I get rich and famous, I'm not going to complain either!
What advice would you give to anyone else wanting to be a musician?
c2c-jess-and-the-banditsGet out there and start gigging. You'll know real quick if it's for you or not. You will either love it or hate it. Give the same show as you would to 5,000 people to 5 people. It's not an easy road but if this is what you truly want to do, don't let anything keep you from it! 

Thanks to Jess for her time. Here We Go Again is certainly not a poor album however I do think it would benefit from less of a production, whether that be a little pulled back or completely stripped down. Jess' vocals are at their strongest in the softer tracks and in my opinion this should definitely be played to more.