Jamie Lynn Vessels, Home (Independent)

Jamie Lynn is the latest in a long line of girls-with-guitars who picked up where Sheryl Crow left off, at least from a personality standpoint; she seems like the one your mother warned you about, but at heart she’s just unencumbered, not wayward, the kind of distaff roots-rock troubadour whose restlessness doesn’t cancel out her maternal instincts.

The tell here lies in Jamie Lynn’s voice, which aims in part for that patented Crowvian “alone in the bar in the middle of the afternoon” rasp but keeps opening up to reveal deep, rich, rounded tones that have the carnal oomph of Joan Osborne and the warmth and power of late-period Bonnie Raitt. She’s not looking to be completed, in other words, but she’s not just a good time, either. She did name the album Home, after all.

These 11 songs (along with a reprise, all produced by scenester and excellent judge of talent Louie Ludwig) are all deceptively simple, more like incantations than songs proper, a series of mantras that, despite the plain-as-hamburger titles—“Don’t Look Back,” “God Only Knows,” and even “Dirty Water,” have less lyrical weight than their more famous forebears, and her big story song, “John Brown,” is pretty generic bad-boy stuff at heart—serve perfectly well as vehicles for her obsessive need to heal and be healed.

Which may be why the sexiest moment on Home comes in its brief reprise of the self-explanatory “So Good to Me”: the original sounds like her pledge of devotion to whoever it was that finally deserved her nurturing, but when she sings it again, it sounds like there are … hidden rewards. Wonder what kind of indie R&B diva she’d make.

  • NashvilleVaper

    Great album, and a great artist. Seeing her live is a treat. Her voice is emotive and powerful. Definitely a talent worth checking out.