Jessie Baylin


I’ll admit it, a big reason Firesight jumped off the rack at me is the cover. The photo of Jessie Baylin draws the eye, let’s say. Look for more than a second and it’s obvious this is no glamour shot—there’s emotion in those eyes—so judging this disc by its cover turns out to be a good thing. Baylin has crafted a 12-song set (titled after her parents’ New Jersey inn) that’s far from the standard fare out of Nashville. The songwriting harks back to early Lucinda Williams: deceptively simple melodies, searingly raw lyrics (for instance, from “Was I on Your Mind”: “Now every breath feels like a new charade / I’m as lost as you, just stumbling through our sad parade”). Her voice is smoky rich, layered over jangly country arrangements that soar on tracks such as “See How I Run” and “Leave Your Mark,” then over Nina Simone piano stylings on “Lonely Heaven,” then over Latin folk on “I’ll Cry for the Both of Us.” You might not expect what you hear from the woman on the cover, but if you’re a fan of torch songs and twang, you’ll be glad you got connected with Jessie Baylin.