Written by Eddie Ferranti
Apr 23, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Rose & I were in a “New York” state of mind recently when we visited Austin over Easter weekend.  We hit Momos to catch a fave of ours, Jess Klein, playing with a full band in tow. A bonus was the early band that evening, Jesse Torrisi & Please Please Me, who was recommended by Jess herself.


Turns out the two of them are buds from Brooklyn.  Klein was born in Rochester and started her writing career in Kingston, Jamaica in her late teens. She honed her chops in Boston and has since relocated to her adopted hometown of Austin, Texas to further her blossoming talents.


“Bound to Love” is her latest album put out early this year and it has some sweet stuff on it. “Cheaper Side of Town” kicked the set off with JK fronting a tight 5 piece outfit. She “welcomed” the crowd to thee inferno we call spring in Texas where it had hit 93 degrees already in late April.


The move to Austin has been a really good thing for Klein providing a port to write and mingle with killer talents and then depart and tour the world. Title cut “Bound to Love” and “Shaunna Lee”, written about a waitress she knew in Boston, was very nice. Stunning guitar work by Andre Moran on one of my favorite tunes of hers “Don’t Let Me Put My Suitcase Down” was flat out badass. This dude shows his emotion in his eyebrow movement as he silently shreds his guitar!  His wife Noelle Hampton provided ample backing vocals throughout and Jeremy Bow was reliable on the skins, too.


“When the Time Comes” was a heart tugger dedicated to her Dad who remained inspiring and happy until his untimely passing from a rare ailment that kills the body, but keeps the brain alive throughout. Unreal how awesome this talented lady is in front of a band versus solo. You could tell she was so comfortable on stage and her infectious grin is contagious!


JK departed from the band and did solo work tenderly on “Rosey” about leaving someone behind in life. This interlude showcased her outstanding pipes!   When the bass player Mark “Professor Feathers” Addison hopped back on stage they did a killer new song “A Room of Your Own”.  Nice stuff.


Klein has cut 7 albums to date and I think she is a force to be reckoned with in the crowded talent pool that is Austin, Texas.  Catching the eye of the likes of Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Randy Weeks (who actually told us about Jess), and Will Sexton is quite strong indeed.  Check this good looker out when you can-you’ll be glad you did!


As far as the earlier band, Jesse Torrisi and Please Please Me, they were a pleasant surprise.  Always willing to check out women in rock I could tell from the get go who was in charge. Torrisi established herself slamming on the drums in a dozen or so rock bands in New York (Unisex Salon, Les Fleurs Tragiques) before laying down her debut album “Bruler Bruler”.  She relocated herself to Austin also around 18 months ago and is working hard to get a foothold in the Texas scene.


Her band’s mixed bag of sounds featuring horn and cello was ear & eye catching. Featured tunes performed from her CD were “X in Texas” and a sexy ass rockin’ growl on “Hungry Like Me” !  Torrisi is not afraid to keep the set moving with a song she penned in NYC  “Runaway Train”, which had bad ass harp iinjection by JT and cello player Alissa Scram joining Jesse on drums WITH drummer Carl Ryals mid-song.  Cool. Dave Gironda Jr.’s trumpet playing provided a “spunky” angle to her music which was refreshing. Colin Guerra held firm with guitar and bass.

The sight of a woman taking control on the drums and singing has always appealed to me since the Sheila E days. Wearing a cool lid enhanced that funky look that Torrisi wears well. She is a blender mix of jazz singer + Chrissie Hynde rocker bitch rolled into a smokey hardass persona-in a good way!  Her live show definitely blows up her CD sound to another level.  She was so fired up for Easter that she put eggs all around Momos filled with treats. HMR got a treat by catching this act. I’ll be keepin’ tabs on her for sure…………..Later on!