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Review Tue Oct 30 2012
Local singer/songwriter Jess Godwin is looking for her big break. She is a fiery redhead with a multidimensional voice that at one moment is soft and sweet, then strong and powerful at the next. The simple, vocal-heavy pop songs on her new self-titled EP create a sound that can easily be received by a wide variety of listeners. They're especially inspirational to women because they speak to common feminine plight. Both her soulful, up-tempo beats and the lyrics of her songs are very catchy, making it hard to resist singing along.
It's apparent that Godwin's lyrics are reflective of challenges she has faced in her life. The first two songs on the EP seem to be inspired by the harsh realities she has faced while trying to get her foot in the door of the highly competitive music industry. She has released three EPs in the past three years, and is still searching for a label. Her musical focus has evolved slightly from her original R&B sound to more marketable pop tunes.
The first song on the EP is "One Little Yes," an upbeat tune about rejection and the perseverance that is required to continue to try for success. It is a very appropriate opening to the album because it is a statement to critics that they can't bring her down. She's telling them she won't give up until she is signed to a record label.
"Be a Light" is another song about the difficult trials and tribulations of life. It really showcases her wide vocal range and the warm fuzzy feelings that her pipes exude.
"Tiger Song" is the only slow single on the EP. It's an intimate song that is specifically addressed to a friend, "Melissa," and is about her relationship issues. Godwin encourages her to forget her current lover and be single until she finds the right man some day.
"Girl Next Door" is a fun tune that has some gospel elements in it. There are chorus-like backup vocals and rhythmic clapping. It's a declaration of loving another and also loving oneself.
Her background in musical theater is very apparent through her EP because it's so energetic that it's entertaining. Though I have never seen her live, I can imagine her performing with a wealth of charm and spunk.
Godwin's EP release party is at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., on Nov. 2 at 8:30pm. Supporting acts Living in Pretend (Eli Noll), Julian Bell and Funky Hot Grits will also perform, followed by the official after party with DJ Sgnik. Tickets are $10, 21+.