Jessie Wagner (from the album Shoes Droppin’ available on Wicked Cool Records) (by Brian Rock)
Jessie Wagner steps into the spotlight with her dazzling Soul debut, Shoes Droppin’. The talented vocalist has been a highly sought-after backup singer for the likes of Lenny Kravitz and Chic as well as Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. Now Jessie Wagner moves to center stage to showcase both her voice and her songwriting skills. Wagner immediately catches your ear on the opening title song. With military march percussion, Blues harmonica, and Rock guitar driving the beat, she moans ‘what have I done to deserve all this? Been brushed by death and misery’s kiss’. Her evocative voice conveys both pain and power as she sings ‘this burden has gotten too hard to bear. Tell me Lord are you still there? … Ease up on the sinner, ‘cause I can’t stand more shoes droppin’’. A powerful plea for mercy; Jessie Wagner combines classic Blues with modern Soul/Rock fusion to create an impressive opening statement.
“Over and Over” follows with funky, horn driven, soulful rhythms. Showcasing her talent with vocal runs, and adding background singers of her own, she creates a decadently delicious Memphis Soul Stew that rivals early Aretha Franklin. The ballads, “Great One” and “Hard to Let You Go”, display Wagner’s softer side. Expressive and elegant, her voice is both gently encouraging (“Great One”) and heartbreakingly intimate (“Hard to Let You Go”).
Ranging from the gritty power of Etta James and Aretha Franklin to the gentle sentimentality of Roberta Flack and Barbara Lewis, Jessie Wagner captures the energy of Stax and the sophistication of Motown. Producer Dave Diamond does a wonderful job of incorporating modern Rock, Soul, and R&B styles to the music so Wagner’s voice can pay homage to the greats without sounding mired in the past.
Jessie Wagner also manages to invoke some Folk influences on “Lover’s Lullaby” and “What You Get”. The latter adds South African vocal harmonies to bring even more texture to this already multilayered album. “Caretaker” and “End of Time” are modern R&B tunes that should push Beyonce for radio air time. And again, her love for classic sixties and seventies musical styles shines through in the romantic Blues of “My Darlin My Dear” and the jubilant Soul of “Passin Me By”.
With a passionate, powerful voice, Jessie Wagner shines as bright as the spotlight she so richly deserves. Her release, Droppin’ Shoes, is a stunning debut that celebrates the past and heralds a promising future for Soul music. (by Brian Rock)
Listen and buy the music of Jessie Wagner from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Jesse Wagner website