Boston-based Jesse Dee creates an updated version of low-fi rhythm and blues classics on his playful release Bittersweet Batch.
Starting with the opening track, "Alright," Dee plays the pawn in a neverending chess game, all the while reassuring those around him that everything will be just fine. The composition harkens back to the great Carole King vocal ensemble rock records of the 1950s and ‘60s. Traveling the distance from northern Motown R&B to the southern gospel and soul of Stax, Dee mourns a lost lover on "Around Here."
Dee’s backing unit of Matthew Joy on guitar, Jim Larkin on bass, and Mark Sexton on drums fleshes out the robust material, allowing the throaty vocalist enough room to overpower the sound mix. Scott and John Aruda, along with Paul Ahlstrand, on brass add to the gentle advice to stop and enjoy life’s pleasures on "Slow Down." Scott Aruda’s horn arrangements prove crucial to Dee’s vision on Bittersweet Batch.
Produced by Jack Younger and Dee at Basement 247 in Allston, MA, Bittersweet Batch displays a heightened, expansive range of musical styles, from his belting of the torch ballad, "Remember Me" to the Bill Withers "Use Me"-inspired tones on "Reap What You Sow."
It’s a large meal to digest in one sitting, but the tasty smorgasbord of quality songs Jesse Dee brings to the table on Bittersweet Batch will leave listeners poised to hear his dinner bell the next time around.
Bittersweet Batch is out now on 7not Records.