Concert: Jillian Rae Band
Lanesboro Arts presents an evening with the Jillian Rae Band at the historic St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanesboro on Saturday, July 13th at 7:30 p.m. Returning to the St. Mane Theatre after a memorable 2016 performance, Jillian Rae is a multi-talented singer-songwriter and vocalist that has cultivated a reputation as the go-to violin accompanist for dozens of roots, rock, and Americana bands (including The Okee Dokee Brothers, Corpse Reviver, Adam Levy, and Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings). An Iron Range native based out of Minneapolis, Rae assembled her own band in 2013 that performs a palatable mix of country, bluegrass and pop. Expanding on her upbringing as a classical violinist, Rae has become one of the most powerful and unique voices in the Twin Cities music scene.
This concert will also serve as the capstone event of a mini-residency with Jillian Rae, who will be participating in various storytelling, songwriting and music events throughout the week of July 8 with Lanesboro area residents as part of the Performing Artist Engagement Program supported by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council. Rae’s flexible and accessible approach to songwriting will serve as a catalyst for individuals of any ability in the Lanesboro community to create and learn with confidence.
Rae’s songs are full of heartache, truth, and often a beguiling sense of playfulness. Her songwriting is not easily pigeonholed, and neither is her playing. You can find her playing country fiddle on one tune, rock guitar on the next, or driving her violin through synthy guitar effects on another. As engaging as her arrangements can be, the real show stopper of her records or live performances is always her effortlessly powerful voice. When Jillian Rae sings, you believe her. Such is the case on her 2017 EP, Wanderlust. More of a stripped-down country record, Wanderlust showcases Rae’s dynamic and earnest vocal chops. Music journalist Youa Vang called Rae a heavy hitter whose “voice will stay with you long after the show is over.”
If Jillian Rae fans thought that Wanderlust might be signal that she’s going country, she has more surprises in store. With the planned release of a new full length (expected Spring 2019), Rae will make an even harder pivot. Fans got an early taste of her collaborations with a new lineup and a new producer (The Library Studio’s Matt Patrick), in her cover of Prince’s legendary When Doves Cry. Released as a single, the tune is not only a wholesale rewrite of the tune befitting the towering status of the original, it’s also a marker of where she plans to go with this new staff on board.
With contributions from Patrick as well as drummer Alex Young, guitarist and longtime collaborator Eric Martin, and bassist Jimmy Osterholt, the new record is saturated in heavy grooves, moody arrangements, and unflinching honesty. And of course her voice, which has never sounded better, more dynamic, or more true than it does on this collection of songs.