Jesse Terry Photo by Alex Berger

In my efforts to discover new artists and new music happening nowadays, my buddy Mike Farley, of the Michael J. Media Group, has been instrumental with hooking me up with some of his clients, the latest of which is Stonington, Connecticut-based singer-songwriter Jesse Terry. He will be releasing his seventh album in mid-May. I called Terry on his cellphone as he and his family were renting a lake house in the little town of Prosperity, South Carolina. He was busy working on a couple of projects there too. I began by complimenting him on that soon-to-be released album called “When We Wander.”

Q: Mike sent me an advanced copy of your new album. Having done this for so long, it’s refreshing to find an artist who’s willing to put the lyrics of their songs in print that is easily read. So when I discovered the “Trail Guide” booklet you included, I was thrilled. I used to get vinyl, and it was easy to read them on a 12½ by 12½-inch gatefold jacket. Where on a CD, well, it’s nigh-on impossible without a magnifying glass.
Terry: I know what you mean. It’s a huge extra cost. You know going in, and you also know that there are people who really love the CDs, so we made the choice to do that. It’s important to me, you know?

Q: Well, Jesse, you’re one helluva storyteller, and having the lyrics that one can follow along with makes it important to your fans, as well.
Terry: Thank you, Lucky, that means a lot, really. This record was supposed to come out last year, and we decided to push it back, so it just really feels amazing that it’s coming out now. It’s weathered the pandemic, even lyrically. Now I noticed on caller ID that you’re calling from Bridgton, Maine, right?

Q: Well, that’s the town I grew up in, but I live in Sweden which is the next town over. We share the same 647 code. Why do you ask?
Terry: Well, I actually played a little bed & breakfast there a few years ago. It’s called The Noble House Inn and it was an amazing place. The local PBS station came out to film the concert; it was really beautiful. There’s a little lake there, as well. My wife and I really, really want to move to Maine, even as cold as it is in the winter.

Q: That’s the only down-side, but the other three seasons make it worth the wait, for sure. Now this is your seventh album; when does it come out?
Terry: On May 14, we’ve got a couple more singles, and then it comes out fully, which is just really exciting. It’s also exciting that I can still connect with the music and love the music after so long, because I’ve never ever waited that long to release music.

Q: Is it fairly representational of what you do?
Terry: Yeah, I think it’s the most representational of what I do and after making six records and going through that journey. Hopefully you’re better, and hopefully you’re more able to access your deep emotions and believe in what you’re doing. You don’t over-think things, so when you go into the studio you can be really free and open. So I think it is the best representation of what I do and what I love, and the fact that it was recorded live.

Q: That was the other thing I wanted to talk about. Was this the first time you had done that?
Terry: Yeah, I mean in the studio, for sure. It’s the first one I’ve done that’s totally live. I think it just creates a certain magic and certain emotions that’s been really hard to attain for me otherwise. You just don’t have time to over-think things; it’s a revelation to be completely in the moment.

Q: And that spontaneity shines through the whole album, it’s a very palpable part of this release.
Terry: That’s really great to hear, Lucky; thank you so much. You never know how people will respond to it until it’s out, and of course the whole goal of this whole thing is connection.

Q: Especially in this time of isolation and being cut off from interaction, you really need that connectivity.
Terry: Yes, yeah, it’s what you miss the most, isn’t it?

Q: Yeah, how right you are. Just out of curiosity, have you found anything positive in this past year?
Terry: There definitely are some silver linings to this time — creating so much more music and just taking stock of your life as a person and an artist. You have to look for those positives or else what else can you do?

Q: Did you get a lot of writing done during last year when you couldn’t tour?
Terry: No, I actually took a break from writing. Not intentionally, but I got an offer to record a 20-song Christmas album by one of my fans who wanted to executive produce the album. I spent a good part of 2020 doing that. It was a huge undertaking that’s coming out later this year; and then the same fellow and his wife asked me to do a 20-song covers album, so I’m finishing that right now. But I think the writing will come really quickly to me and be really exciting when I get home. I’m planning on doing a lot of writing this summer and through the end of this year, so I can make another original record next year.

Q: Is there anything, Jesse, that you’d like me to pass along to the folks reading this article?
Terry: Just that I’m looking forward to connecting to more people with this music, you know? Whether it’s them listening or whether it’s when I actually get to come to Maine and play live again; it’ll be sooner than later. But I’m really happy that this music is starting to connect with people, that’s the most important thing to me. (www.jesseterrymusic.com)

Lucky Clark has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

filed under: