Chicago-native Jessica Rae, like Jo Dee Messina and other artists, started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the recording of her first full-length album, Freedom Avenue. Once funded, Jessica turned to friend Radney Foster who connected her to producer Justin Tocket.
The classically trained violinist (inspired at age 4 to play after seeing her grandfather on the fiddle) holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Michigan State University. Her powerful, heartfelt vocals were first heard at her grandmother’s funeral, and from there, Jessica left a job in advertising and headed to Nashville to focus on creating music of her own.
Listening to her songs, you’ll be reminded of another mega talented singer/songwriter – Kacey Musgraves. It is amazing that both young artists’ songs resonate with fans of all ages. Both have crafted old country flavored tunes with their own personal fresh takes.
On her album, Jessica has a duet with Radney, “What Are You Doing On My Mind“. Their voices blend so well you would think they’ve sung together for years, like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Radney is no stranger to hit music, having written songs for fellow artists: Keith Urban, Sara Evans, Dixie Chicks, and Gary Allan.
Deeply moving, the song “Why I Never Run” is a 5-hankie happy tears tune. Even dealing with searing pain, she chooses to “face the bullet from the gun, I’d rather know where it came from” and to “find the good from my mistakes, know the reasons why I stand up to the pain”. For anyone who is going through difficult times, or has gone through difficult times, really all of us, this inspirational song might well become the anthem for everyone who rose to a challenge, climbed over it, and kicked it to the curb.
Other new favorite songs include “Not Enough Angels“, “Master of Disguise“, … and, well, the entire album.