Jessica Hernandez Brings Her Smoldering Noir Soul to Rock Shop
Detroit bandleader Jessica Hernandez is a second-generation Mexican-American woman singing original, classic 60s style soul music. She’s got a big, powerful alto voice and an excellent band, the Deltas, behind her. The obvious comparison is Clairy Browne, considering Hernandez’ fondness for ominous minor-key noir 60s sounds. She’s got a new ep out, Live at the Magic Bag, a tantalizing glimpse of the band at the top of their darkly captivating game. The whole ep is streaming at Soundcloud; Hernandez is at Rock Shop at around 10 on Oct 3.
The opening track, Caught Up kicks off with a snarling garage rock guitar riff and honking baritone sax and builds to a big hard-hitting chorus, and then a creepy, atmospheric noir interlude before an all-too-brief, searing reverb guitar solo. Young Dumb & Drunk, an aptly woozy ballad, is a lot more plaintive than it is funny: “Quit telling me to change the way I’m walking,” Hernandez intones with a gin-soaked defiance. Sorry I Stole Your Man is a bitterly sardonic romp that wouldn’t be out of place in the Bettye Swan songbook. Gone In Two Seconds moves up and around a darkly swaying two-chord vamp, with a brief, aggressively animated conversation between trombone and bari sax. Hernandez has it all: strong voice, killer songwriting and a hot band.