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Jessica Pratt

Not to be confused with the Australian operatic soprano, this JESSICA PRATT (born 1987 in Missouri) was, by and large, a folk singer, whether freak, neo or otherwise. Pitched somewhere between JOAN BAEZ, JUDY COLLINS, JANIS IAN, MELANIE, et al (she’s also unmistakably a fan of NICK DRAKE), one could almost fall in love with her lush, lilting tones of yesteryear.
Raised by her single mother and learning to play guitar at 15 on a hand-me-down Stratocaster cast aside by her older brother, Jessica plugged into the likes of MARC BOLAN, TIM BUCKLEY and several cow-punk acts, never thinking of a future in music. A move to San Francisco, California, saw JP get her first break and, in 2011 or thereabouts, she hooked into Tim Presley’s solo project, White Fence. A demo tape featuring cuts from the previous five years was bandied about by her boyfriend, until it landed at Facebook.
Released by Presley’s Birth label and (re-)produced by Craig Gotsill, her eponymous JESSICA PRATT {*8} sold out in a couple of weeks when released in 2012, urging re-presses the following May after noted interest by Pitchfork, et al. It would be easy to pigeonhole her quivering vocals as just another JONI MITCHELL, but there was a sense her mystical helium-pitched larynx lay somewhere near SIBYLLE BAIER or even, a folky STEVIE NICKS. Almost striding further towards the once-great Laurel Canyon, her beauty lay in songs such as `Night Faces’, `Hollywood’, `Bushel Hyde’, `Casper’ and a few others.
Posing like Kate Moss on a London-glum photo shoot, the sleeve of her sophomore set ON YOUR OWN LOVE AGAIN (2015) {*8} – her introduction to Drag City Records – was as spine-tingling as the music inside. Equally riveting and kicking back to a time when music was simple, intimate and oh so bittersweet, Jessica and acoustic guitar performed her most haunting pieces by way of `Wrong Hand’, `Greycedes’, `Moon Dude’ and `Strange Melody’.
Re-opening her account via Mexican Summer Records (City Slang overseas), JESSICA PRATT issued her third set, QUIET SIGNS (2019) {*7}. In similar aplomb to her erstwhile idols of yesteryear, a running time of under a half hour was bestowed on this glowing set of nine songs; co-produced by flautist Al Carlson. It had her home-recorded and accompanied by pianists (Will Canzoneri or Matty McDermott); `As The World Turns’, `Poly Blue’, `Aeroplane’ and `This Time Around’ reminiscent of a bygone age of cerebral singer-songwriters tripped out under a mid-day sun.
© MC Strong/MCS Jan2015-Jun2019

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