A folk troubadour whose talents have been lauded on the national and international scene for almost a decade, Jess Klein writes songs that tell the story of the soul – from wrenching heartbreak to finding the strength to pick up and move on.
Jess Klein emerged from the Boston music scene in 1998 with her independent release, Wishes Well Disguised, but it was her later releases – 2000’s Draw Them Near, 2005’s Strawberry Lover and 2006’s City Garden that would capture the attention of critics and fans worldwide.
The Rochester, New York native picked up the acoustic guitar and started writing songs while living as a student abroad in Kingston, Jamaica in her late teens. Her first songs reflected a bittersweet culture shock as well as the warmth and musical vibrancy of her new surroundings.
Klein returned to the states, moved to Boston, and began performing locally. After independently releasing her first two albums, winning the Telluride Troubadour Songwriting Contest, and garnering several Boston Music Award nominations, Klein was spotted and signed to Rykodisc in 2000. Her first release for Ryko, Draw Them Near, [3.5 stars, USA Today], launched Klein on a worldwide tour where, among other highlights, her relaxed confidence and rootsy soulfulness wowed 70,000 attendees at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.
Klein returned to the U.S. and joined the songwriter collective Voices on the Verge, along with Erin McKeown, Rose Polenzani, and Beth Amsel. The foursome was featured on Good Morning America performing Klein's song “Little White Dove” and brought sold out crowds in small theaters across the U.S. to their feet nightly with their blend of harmonies and eclectic styles.
Looking for a new phase in her creative life, Jess moved to New York and recorded her second solo effort for Ryko. Strawberry Lover , debuted as the No. 1 most added album at triple A radio a week before its release, was given four stars by MOJO, a plug from the nearly 80 million readership Parade, and the emotive and sensual title track was named one of the “Top Ten Sexiest Songs of the Moment” by the NY Daily News.
Klein moved to her current home, Austin, TX in 2008, inspiring her 2009 release, Bound To Love. Shining as Klein's most confident work to date, Bound to Love evoked the dusty roots of Texas songwriters and made her a household name in the Austin music world. Bound to Love again took Klein across the globe, including a tour of Ireland supporting folk legend Arlo Guthrie. In between tours Klein found time to collaborate with some of Austin’s most talented artists: Jon Dee Graham, Randy Weeks, Jimmy LaFave, Slaid Cleeves, Matt the Electrician, Shelley King, Betty Soo and Oklahoma- based John Fullbright.
Jess Klein continues to be best known for her compelling and passionate live show. The Boston Globe describes her as "Quite simply one of the most gifted performers this area has produced".
Jess’ newest album, A Room of Your Own, reflects a maturity and seize-the-day attitude influenced by her father's inspiring battle with the disease ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) which took his life in early 2011. With the loss of her father to ALS, Klein learned much about her own strength and resiliency, and about the supportiveness and depth of character of her fans and community. In the midst of all this growth, she decided to leave the record label she had been with and venture out on her own.
Jess proclaims, “It's a new day for me, and that's what the songs on A Room of Your Own are about: stepping into my strength, owning myself, dreaming big, and being proud of who I am, even on the rough days. I hope these songs inspire you to do the same. This journey has not been without challenges, but it's no exaggeration to say that my fans get me through those challenges. Singing for you is medicine for me.”
A Room of Your Own, Jess's first independent album in 14 years, will be released in April 2012.