Jillian Bessett: Electric Moon 

Jillian Bessett presents to you the piano. The deep, evocative power of the piano—in this case a 100-year-old Estey upright that Bessett breathes life into. Layered with her equally deep and evocative voice and poetic lyrics, Tucsonan Bessett's album Electric Moon is a master class in piano songwriting.

"Spade" starts off the album with a powerful, soulful jazz trill and Bessett launching into dark depths: "I may be a whore, but you're an alcoholic," she calmly asserts. "Villanelle" (which is an actual villanelle that rhymes—an impressive accomplishment) posits high-pitched plinks with low-pitched chords in a dramatic and haunting juxtaposition. Equally poetic is "The Lie: A Black-Keyed Sonnet," a meditation on moths and their "false electric moon against the wall." "Rockabye" is a gorgeous and raw take on the classic lullaby, showcasing the range and power of both Bessett's piano technique and her vocal abilities.

And then there are the songs where Bessett plays guitar. "Up" and "Easy" are both sweet love songs accented by subtle strings, and "Run for Your Life" rolls with a smoky country-Western energy. "Instrumental" has Bessett really playing her guitar, coaxing layers of reverberations and percussives out of it, showing that she can certainly play more than just the piano. Electric Moon is Bessett's first album, but it swells with a maturity and quality beyond its years.

More by Annie Holub


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