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Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here.
To our great pleasure WERS live mix veteran Jesse Dee recently came in to perform a solo set for WERS’ Live Music Week. Dee, a Boston area r&b singer, has been slinging soulful tunes with his band around the area and abroad since releasing their debut album Bittersweet Batch in 2008. Their latest record, On My Mind / In My Heart, was just released this past February on Alligator records.
The comparison of Dee’s music to that of classic Motown era singers like Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye is almost unavoidable, though Dee has successfully crafted a sound of his own. His impeccable songwriting and stellar voice breathe life into the genre while staying true to its roots. It’s not surprising given his talent and attitude. He says that “the best music that [he’s] ever listened to is music that is rooted in feeling, emotion, and not in the amount of notes that get played.
Dee’s records are both phenomenal, benefitting from the huge and vibrant sound his band achieves. But there’s a degree of intimacy captured in his solo performance that is hard to replicate in the studio. Raw emotion, emanating from both his pipes and his guitar (which he plays really, really well) filled our sound booth as he performed three tracks from On My Mind/In My Heart. His instinct as a performer is highly developed – he knows just when to keep his voice tight and controlled and when to let it soar and fray at the edges. His smooth guitar playing is the perfect accompaniment to his singing, and he demonstrates technical skill as a strong rhythm player who can pull off licks too.
While waiting patiently to go on the air, Dee spent about forty minutes jamming in the sound booth and it was a blast to watch him go at it. Dee says that he loves the recording process, but that “there’s nothing like performing to a live audience” and he displays this attitude with gusto. His commitment to his style is inspiring: “soul music embodies some of the purest, most genuine emotions and feelings, more so than other genres. You can’t deny that. That will always be around no matter how advanced technology gets, no matter what the popular music is at the time. It’s always going to come back to genuine music from the heart that connects to people and affects them.” Luckily for you, Dee and his band hit the road frequently. He’s currently set to play shows in Connecticut, New York, Illinois, and elsewhere in the near future. It would be a mistake to miss this man when he comes to your town.