Damn, that Jeanne Jolly can sing. All those metaphors comparing her voice to a songbird, an angel, a summer’s breeze, they just don’t cut it. Jolly’s voice is the first day of spring, after the grey dirty snow has melted and the sun beams down on the crocuses that begin to bloom. The birds sing while you sit on a porch swing with your new lover, a glass of wine in hand, gazing at the rainbow out west.
No, that doesn’t cut it either.
Imagine Joni Mitchell with Billie Holiday’s stylings. You’re getting warmer.
The Raleigh, North Carolina native received her Master’s in classical voice performance from the New England Conservatory and also served as vocalist for jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti. But she’s a southern girl at heart, and her first, self-titled, EP, released in 2008, had a strong country/Americana feel to it. She boned up on her guitar and ukulele (and even some piano) skills for her 2010 release, Falling in Carolina, which she dedicated to her mother, who had just lost her battle with ovarian cancer. It is an album that demonstrates great openness and personal realizations without appearing maudlin or naval gazing.
Last year’s Angels, her first full-length album, showcases her vocal prowess in full force. The album is produced by her friend, Chris Boerner, who also plays eight-string guitar on it. Nick Baglio handles the percussion duties. They help flesh out the feel of the songs. Listen to the wistful guitar and happy wood block and triangle on “Sweet Love.” You can almost feel the waves curling up on the beach. It’s sweet, happy and sunny. It’s the perfect summer love song.
Jolly took some time from her recent tour to talk about that voice of hers, what songs mean to her, and why you will never see her on American Idol.