JESS AND THE BANDITS HERE WE GO AGAIN (DELUXE) ALBUM REVIEW


In between album releases some bands choose to release an EP and others release a deluxe edition combining the original album and new songs. The latter is what country band Jess And The Bandits have decided to do, so it seems that the title Here We Go Again is pretty apt for the re-issued album. It also seems sensible that as people are still discovering the band there's plenty more mileage to get from their acclaimed debut.

When first hearing the album, it's an absolute guilty pleasure, full of memorable pop rock country melodies and a lot of heart. Jess Clemmons is a natural frontwoman and has consistently proved herself to be a terrific performer with one of the most emotive and passionate voices of any genre.

Love Like That, the album opener and first ballad pulls you in from the beginning with a smooth country feel to rival Faith Hill as Jess attempts to convince a friend that the grass isn't greener. It's iconically county and that peddle steel and yearning middle 8 hits you straight between the eyes, before Jess's pleading vocals evoke feeling even in the hardest of hearts.

Things switch to being personal in the next big ballad You Can't Stop Me. The vocals are full on from the get go and just grow and grow towards infinity as the song builds. Just when you think Jess can't give any more to the song, out comes a power belt that will floor you. The Bandits help drive the sentiment with some outstanding harmonies too.

Nitty Gritty, a fan favourite when he album was originally released, still gathers applause for its ability to confront the way we feel about ourselves in an upbeat and inspiring way. My Name Is Trouble, a popular live track gives us a flavour of the band channelling the work of Shania and Carrie at their raunchiest.

Kiss You Now, a new track is another empowering one with the girl making the first move. Co-written by Jeff Cohen and Liz Longley this addictively brilliant tune has hit written all over it. It's romantic, endlessly catchy (you'll be humming it for days) and an example new country at its best. You also get to hear guitarist Louis on vocals for this track. Keyboard player Steve shares the vocal on the excellent cover of Lee Brice's I Don't Dance, which works well as a duet. Jess proves herself once again, singing with sensitivity and vulnerability and Steve shows that his talent extends beyond the keys.

We Are Tonight, a cover of the Billy Currington hit, is given a less county arrangement which honours co-writer Sam Hunt's genre shifting abilities. It's fun and lively and fits perfectly into the JATB repertoire. Although the cover that still stands out is Jess's sublime version of Wichita Lineman. It takes guts to attempt a cover of one of the most quintessential songs in country music history, but Jess really does make it her own whilst being faithful to the original.

These new tracks add a different flavour to the original album but still appear in keeping with the original cut. JATB are a real force to be reckoned and are destined to be a classic country band. The late Terry Wogan saw their potential when he invited them to perform an acoustic set on his Radio 2 show, he knew a thing or two that Terry. So for those of you who missed this amazing album the first time around, make sure you catch it, you're in for a real treat. It's much too good to let it pass you by!


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