The first thing that strikes one upon listening to Jillie Mae Eddy’s latest record All the Boys is the way she is able to manipulate her voice into different styles. She slips from country twang to sultry and seductive whenever the mood seems to strike her or rather perhaps when the song’s theme calls for it. Part of the reason for this is because Eddy holds an MA in Music Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in London. But that only accounts for half of it, the other half being that as a young girl Eddy began playing first the piano, then the trombone, then guitar and after that she learned every stringed instrument she could find.
Now with the release of All the Boys the Brooklyn based multi-instrumentalist can also count recording engineer amongst her long list of musical attributes. That’s right; Eddy recorded, mixed and mastered the entire record herself in her home studio. The recording is very clean and sounds as good if not better than most stuff that I’ve heard coming out of expensive studios.
The themes, which encompass the fourteen songs on All the Boys, are nothing new. They involve a woman who is going through the early part of her adult life and learning to live and deal with the situations that one often deals with for the first time in one’s life such as heartbreak, depression, wanting to escape the traps that life can put us in and of course the great longing to be happy.
All the Boys with the alt country pop play “Flame” on which Eddy, over a rhythmic banjo and foot pedaled drum recounts in gritty details a relationship still in its infancy which seems to have very dire consequences. It’s striking for its harsh simplicity and lets the listener know straight off that there is going to be plenty of theatrics to come. Eddy goes from tough girl to sad lounge chanteuse on the jazz riddled love song “Til I Don’t” and then gets playful on the twang-y country crooner “Don’t Doubt My Love” later opting for the same effect on “O Honey-O.” She switches it up to guitar pop on pretty and introspective “Black-capped Chickadee” and later on the sad and beautiful slow burn of “Sam.”
In a world where female vocal acts account for a very large portion of popular music it’s refreshing to listen to a singer like Jillie Mae Eddy, who could certainly hold her own beside any female vocalist working today. It’s also refreshing that Eddy’s talents are two-fold, in that not only is she a wonderful singer but also writes, records and produces all her own work. Eddy sings on the record’s closer “Happy” that “there’s only one thing I need and I’ll never settle for less.” The one thing of course is happiness, which over the course of the trial and error heartbreak song on All the Boys, Eddy finally finds in the end. I believe listeners, who enjoy well-written songs full of empathy and hope in hard times will find happiness in All the Boys as well.
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