Tag Archives: music

Pieces EP

Nostalgia can be a beautiful thing. The warmth generated in one’s heart by memories of bygone and idealized times feels like nothing else in the spectrum of emotion.
As a songwriter I sometimes feel my work is about building little altars for moments. Every note, every silence, every beat, is an item placed just so, to pay homage to a memory, a dream, a feeling or an idea.
Time passes and then – assuming the works are good enough –  the moment is archived and that wistful feeling swells in my heart. So many of these poetic, structures of reverence get lost for a time.
They sit, unknown in the muse’s attic collecting dust and humming quietly to themselves until life decides either by fate or circumstance to make them relevant again.
I always have a desire for songs that bare a kinship to one another to live in the same archive, spinning out their days into old age, and so certain tunes get set aside and nearly forgotten. It’s hard to sometimes imagine what “present” means when I realize I am on stage playing a song I wrote when I was 23 years old. Yet, every time I find music can truly be transportive. A 6th sense as integral to our memories as the olfactory world.
Such is the story with the 5 tunes I just recorded for the Pieces EP.
5 songs all penned pre Orchard, between 2006 and 2008.
A time when I lived in the basement suites of tree lined streets in East Vancouver.
A time when I broke my own heart with assumptions and insecurities, and then felt it heal and swell with curiosity.
I suppose my return to the single life, through either fate or circumstance 😉 has made these songs live again.
They stand together, reminding me that my heart still breaks and I still heal and feel full of wonder and love for this life.
You might remember that I went into the studio late December with the incomparable Jesse Gander. In two days, with the help of two special guests (Khari McLelland and Tim Tweedale) we recorded 5 songs. We left the studio and headed into the fray of the festive season with one element untouched. I wanted the song “It Don’t Matter” to be a duet.

I imagined a voice that was both sweet and rusty. A voice full of grit and honey. I never imagined that that voice would find it’s way onto the song via satellite signals and networks and modern miracles of technology.
Just yesterday my dear friend and Buffaloswans front man Scott Bell performed his half of our long distance duet somewhere in a studio in Oklahoma, USA. Today I heard the first mixes of what I can only say made me swoon as I felt the thrill of making new memories while archiving old ones.

The Pieces EP will be my first release in over a year. Orchard came out in March 2011 (can you believe it?) and the making of it was an incredibly detailed and lengthy process (we recorded it in 2009). This time I moved quickly and within the notion of capturing moments in the studio. Jesse Gander once again proved to have the most enthusiastic love of music and tireless, talented ears. Bringing Pieces together feels like a tying up of loose ends for the songwriter in me. The next year or two is already mapped out in my head with the hope to head back into the studio twice more to record some songs that are just now taking their first breaths and some others that have been begging for some special and extravagant attention for years while they waited for new siblings to be born.

In the mean time and the near future I’ll be gigging around Vancouver (house concert and release party TBA soon) before heading off to Toronto in March to perform at CMW and do a couple shows in the surrounding area.
I also have big dreams of finding myself on a jet plane en route to Europe in the fall. Drop me a line if you have something to say about that. 😉

2013 is the year of the dream and I’m dreaming vast.

xo
jess

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Waldorf Hotel Cabaret Wednesday January 16th

It’s happening. What it will be remembered as is currently unknown but, no matter if it’s the grand finale of East Van love in’s at The Waldorf Hotel Cabaret or not it will be a spectacular night…(and with any luck we’ll get to do it again)

We will party and play like there’s no tomorrow because, well, there just might not be another chance to saunter into the Tiki Bar, shimmy across the Cabaret stage or get lost in The Hideaway. Time will reveal the future of the Waldorf Hotel and give us more insight into the depth of Mayor Gregor Robertson’s commitment to the arts.

For more information on exactly what is happening to the Waldorf Hotel visit and read the following:
SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE THE WALDORF
 http://www.waldorfhotel.com/2013/01/letter-to-gerry-nichele-ceo-of-the-solterra-group/
http://www.news1130.com/2013/01/15/temporary-protection-order-for-waldorf-hotel/
http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/507865/community-shows-the-waldorf-hotel-lots-of-love/

 

 

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Studio Dec. 22/23

Spent the weekend recording at The Hive Creative Labs with Jesse Gander. We recorded 5 “new to you” tunes in 2 days. It was such a treat to flesh out songs that have been collecting dust in my heart. Hearing trumpet, pump organ and pedal steel come to life was literally a dream come true. The Pieces EP will be released this spring online. Stay tuned to here, for details as they unfold. In the meantime here are some pics from the studio this weekend.

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Jesse Gander at the helm.

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My “Please, no more Clickety The Chickadee” face. The click track of doom!

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After dinner. We ate it all!

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Tim Tweedale making me swoon with his pedal steel.

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Tim Tweedale brings my dream of trumpet to life!

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Man sings in the shadows. The incomparable Khari McClelland sings harmonies on Pieces and Capsized.

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Jesse Gander lays down his first ever guitar solo!

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Electric guitar dreams coming true!

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Current Fixations

The sounds that are haunting me this weekend. Such a depth of beauty. Such warmth of timbre.

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East Side Culture Crawl

This weekend is the Culture Crawl which also means it’s the Princess Haus Art Symposium!

The Princess Haus will be jam packed with creative people, inspiring sights, sounds and tastes.

ADVANCE TICKETS
Come over and get cozy!

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PRINCESS HAUS ARTS SYMPOSIUM

The Princess Haus will be host to a kingdom of inspiration November 16th -18th when we host the innagural Princess Haus Arts Symposium!

Brutally Beautiful and We Will Tell You All of our Secrets will be showing their inspiring creations in the dinging room and parlour all weekend long as a part of the Eastside Culture Crawl. Saturday night Jess HillLee Hutzulak of dixies death pool and Selina Koop will take turns filling the living room with song. Sunday night there will be a Dining Room Table Dialogue on the state of the arts in Vancouver with a schmoozing session to follow.

Seats for the Saturday and Sunday evening events are limited (this is our house after all) so don’t delay!

TICKETS FOR SATURDAY:
makethefloorboardshum.eventbrite.com

TICKETS FOR SUNDAY:
diningroom.eventbrite.com 

FACEBOOK EVENT:
https://www.facebook.com/events/356737421085678/?fref=ts

 

 

 

 

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Straight Music reviews Orchard!

Exactly a year to the release date ORCHARD gets some hometown love.

“as warm and achingly intimate as the best work of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.”
John Lucas, The Georgia Straight

Jess Hill is clearly in no rush. She released her second album, Orchard, five years after her debut, Road. Her songs are equally unhurried affairs. They unfold slowly, deliberately, with Hill’s strong but vulnerable voice crystal-clear. On a couple of tracks—“Stagger” and “Orchard”—Hill kicks things up to mid-tempo, but she tends to favour slow, sad songs.

And sad they are: Hill often uses natural imagery (of birds and flowers, mostly) as metaphors for human relationships. That may be an obvious device, but she does it well, crafting lyrics that are evocative, if not exactly uplifting. “Clouds full of secrets dropping hints through the air/Loosening the sky’s tight grip on despair,” she sings on “Precariously”.

With the Hive’s Jesse Gander * in the producer’s chair, and boasting an all-star supporting cast (including former Black Rice drummer Juli Steemson and cellist Cris Derksen), the album’s sound matches its subject matter. Based largely around acoustic instruments, including Hill’s own guitar, the songs feel back-porch rustic and natural. A few numbers, such as the string-accompanied “In the Evening”, stretch out into orchestral-folk territory, but the sparer cuts are as warm and achingly intimate as the best work of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

*edited by me to chime in and remind the world that the record was masterminded and arranged by the incomparable Aaron Joyce who wore the badge of Producer for every song on the record. Jesse Gander engineered, mixed, and co-produced.
Post Toronto stories to come…soon. But first I gotta move!

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Toronto, pronto!

Eaves dropping on the conversations of my fellow air travelers at the gate. The power is out and each of their faces is in silhouette. There are grumbles between them over the lack of coffee available at the Starbucks kiosk due to the power outage. A rare few of them huffing and puffing at the staff in green aprons. Caffeine is all powerful.

I will touch down in Tdot in time for dinner! I hear it’s warm and sunny there and I do take pleasure leaving Vancouver, where they’re calling for snow knowing I’ll have few days of massive musicality and vitamin D.
That being said I will miss my sweet East Vanistan and every crow and cherry blossom budding there. I’ll see if I can bring home some heat in my pockets.

Tomorrow I’ll be singing at The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music at 3pm and The Free Times Cafe at 9pm.

Hope to see you there!

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Artist Mix Tapes

My contribution to a great website focused on artist made mistakes is up and ready for your perusal. Includes some of my favorite locals and classics! Check it out at:
Artist Mix Tapes

Oh and the homecoming is sweet. So much love and so many beautiful surprises!

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See you all on Saturday May 21st at Cafe Deux Soleils! Show starts at 9pm.

’till then,
xoxo
Jess

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