Jesse Terry has never shied away from expressing emotion, however vulnerable and forthright his sentiments might sometimes seem. A musical journeyman of sorts, he consistently conveys his insightful observations, an astute optimism and an unceasing effort to share lessons learned from all the places his travels take him.
Terry’s profuse desire to make new music inspired him to record two albums simultaneously. Stargazer, released last fall, was a genre-defying effort that brought him increased attention and elevated his own star by degrees. Natural, the second effort to emerge from those sessions, has a less obtuse title and a more sparing approach, one which relies mainly on vocals, acoustic guitar, and piano. He enlisted several notables to share his songs – Dar Williams, Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope, Liz Longley, Annie Clements, Erin Rae, Sarah Darling, and Kim Richey among them – and their presence helps elevate the proceedings to another level entirely.
Consequently, three of the songs on the new album are reprised from Stargazer, and it’s here that outside influences are especially obvious. “Kaleidoscope” is transformed from its previous guise as an upbeat rocker into a gentle lilting lullaby. Terry’s take on “Mr, Blue Sky,” an ELO cover, is tasked with wistful reflection. With its blissful harmonies, “Noise” recalls classic Simon and Garfunkel, while “I Was an Island,” a duet with Kim Richey, finds sweetness and serenity phased through calm and contemplation. As a result, Terry’s ever-pleasant perspective offers a much needed respite. Consider Natural an organic antidote for today’s chaos and cacophony.