Jessica Eve Lechner, a singer/songwriter and guitarist from Billings, has released her first full-length album following her self-titled solo EP. Several of the songs on that recording appear here, fleshed out for a fuller sound this time around with terrific musicians that assist her.
Contributing lead guitar are Chad Gerber and Elliot Jason. Parker Brown plays harmonica, Brian Wetzstein, pedal steel, Greg Thomas bass, and Chad McKinsey, drums and percussion. Thomas, McKinsey, A.J. Sheble, and Phil Griffin add harmonies to this well-produced effort.
Lechner, an alum of the Jaded Ladies and winner for three consecutive years of Best Female Vocalist at the Magic City Music Awards, pours her heart out on her all-original material. She sings ballads, soft rockers, some country-rock, and a folk song or two in a nimble voice that has an appealing timbre in the mid-range register. One of her stylistic trademarks is to bend notes and elongate phrases, which she does gracefully here.
On “You’re Here,” a slow ballad with smooth pedal-steel tones, she sings, “when I hear the geese fly over my head,” with “head” gaining extra syllables. The word “radio” becomes a sustained “ra-dee-o-o-oh,” showing off her good control.
“Here Comes the Train” has kickin’ harmonica and a stutter-step beat that mimics the rolling of the rails. The words “chug-a-chug” and ”choo-choo” are repeated rhythmically to accentuate that clickety-clack sound; Lechner wails some harmonized “woo-woos” to finish it up.
The countrified title tune, “Next Train Home,” is pretty and swingy, with an infectious hook. “There’s no need to scream and shout, I heard you when you didn’t make a sound,” Lechner sings, as she pleads for a lover to stay put because she’s headed back home.
In a nutshell, Lechner has a feel for thoughtful lyrics and lovely melodies.
Visit her at jessicaevelechner.com.
– Mariss McTucker