Counting Sheep: Jessie Kilguss at The Living Room 9/11
“For a smart girl, I’ve made a lot of mistakes,” Jessie Kilguss sang on “Gun Shy,” a country ditty performed during an hour-long set at a half-empty lounge in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Living Room, a New York institution for up-and-coming singer/songwriters, was sparsely populated, with several tables filled with empty seats. That’s no fault of Jessie as a musician — after all, it was a Tuesday, as well as the anniversary of 9/11.
To her credit, she carried on as if she was playing to a packed house, full of energy and verve as she danced and sang songs from her new album The Sky Road, recorded with her four-piece band Radio Gold, who performed with her this evening. Each member fed off of Jessie’s energy, the guitarist throwing out a John Mayer-esque solo during “Ten Stories High” while Jessie danced in a tight red dress, back turned to the audience.
Her guitarist, Jason Loughlin, was the highlight of the evening, overshadowing Jessie’ crooning as she performed a new song, “Hell Creek,” recorded only a week prior. “Going down to hell creek, wash the blood off of my hands,” she cooed as Loughlin backed her with a slick yet funky groove.
For Jessie, just performing seemed like a means unto itself, whether it was for five people or five hundred. Those that were in attendance at The Living Room became more interested as Jessie became more enraptured by the music. She closed her set with “Tennessee,” a raucous honkey-tonk number that also puts a period on The Sky Road. Loughlin’s slick guitar gave the show an old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll ending, which was certainly more than the few people in attendance expected for the evening. If success can be defined as defying expectations, then Jessie put on a great show, no matter the atmosphere.
Listen to an exclusive stream of “Tennessee” from Jessie Kilguss’ new album The Sky Road