By: Bill Clifford
Bittersweet Batch is the solo debut CD from up and coming Boston-based blue-eyed-soul singer-songwriter Jesse Dee. Dee has built his foundation on the cornerstones of the soul music tradition, namely Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, but his style is more akin to modern soul singers such as John Legend, Amos Lee, Marc Broussard and Ryan Montbleau Band.
Opener "Alright" harkens back to the classic Stax Records days, with a triple blast of horns, tenor and baritone saxophone and trumpet, mixed with swirling Farfisa. It's an upbeat, groovy ditty that's impossible to listen to and not tap your feet in rhythm, and a lyrically encouraging reminder that despite the monotony of every day life, as long as the loving couple has each other it's going to be "Alright." With a much more jazzy horn line backing Dee's acoustic strums, "Slow Down" is the chosen single. Several songs slow down in tempo and mellow the mood, including "Over & Over Again," a bluesy break up ballad, and "Remember Me," an acoustic guitar and piano tearjerker that highlights Dee's warm, tenor vocals, underscored with eloquent strings.
"My Two Feet" is a New Orleans style boogie jam, built on muted trumpet and rollicking piano, about waking to face the day only to find one's car engine won’t start. Drenched in rich swells of organ, churning electric guitar and rhythmic drums, "Yet To Come" is a gorgeous, soulful ode to a lover that deserves to be heard by millions. "Alive and Kickin'" is an upbeat rocker with wailing electric guitar woven into Dee's sanctified vocals and a backing chorus.
Dee's got a breathy, bellowing tenor that doesn't stretch to reach the high register. Though his voice has a slight nasal twang, it won’t scare listeners away, and Jesse Dee's Bittersweet Batch is anything but.
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