DHP presents Jess and the Bandits
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Country music really is a powerful thing. It unites fans, and it brings bands together too. Jess and the Bandits are the living proof.
Frontwoman Jessica Clemmons, the singer-songwriter from Houston, Texas with the big voice and the warm personality, bonded with the four Brits who make up the Bandits over their mutual love of the music. Now they’re turning that shared affection into some of the most accessible country-pop-rock of the year.
Jessica is the sort of engaging and effusive performer that wins a truckload of new admirers at every performance, not to mention on every recording, hence the response she’s had all over the place in her second home on this side of the Atlantic. It happens every time, from the stage of the Country 2 Country Festival at London’s 02 Arena in March, to the support she’s won from BBC Radio 2.
Now, at the helm of the five-piece band, she’s ready to take things up another gear. To lift a phrase from Jess and the Bandits’ feelgood single ‘My Name Is Trouble,’ this country girl can rock your world, but she can take it slow, too. “We got a little of that country-rock feel, and then we’ve got those really pretty country ballad sort of songs,” says Jessica. “I spent ten days in Nashville hoping to write enough songs, and left with more than I could put on the record. I’m really excited about it.”
The track is the lead single from the much-anticipated album ‘Here We Go Again,’ which came to life during Clemmons’ brilliantly creative flash of writing and recording collaborations in Nashville. At the helm of a slick and stylish band, Jessica is taking her distinctive style of country music to another country.
Clemmons made a great impression with her earlier, pop-inflected recordings. But since she made the leap of faith and gave her music the country flavour that had always been there in her upbringing, the upswing of interest in the country sound and style in the UK means that she’s almost becoming an honorary Brit.
Jessica graced the Radio 2 playlist earlier this year with ‘Single Tonight’, had further airplay with ‘Love Like That,’ and sent social media into a spin when she performed her showstopping female take on ‘Wichita Lineman’ on Terry Wogan’s Sunday morning show. All of those tracks are on the new album with the Bandits. With the band, she wowed arena audiences on Boyzone’s BZ20 tour, just as she had on earlier outings with the Overtones and the Stylistics.
It was during that tour with the Overtones that the fateful meeting with the future Bandits took place. The group features brothers Louis (guitar) and Ricci (drums) Riccardi, who’d been playing classic country covers, especially those of their hero Johnny Cash, all over the UK, even in their teens. They continued their musical education in the US, studying with some of the industry’s finest. When they got home, they became a powerful writing and production team, joining forces with kindred spirits Dave Troke, on bass, and singer/writer/keyboard player Steve Reid Williams.
During that tour, Jess and the quartet of musicians realised that their shared spirit was too good to waste. They began to play at gigs and festivals all over the UK, and with their flawless chemistry, the next step was to make it official. Jessica, Ricci, Louis, Dave and Steve became Jess and the Bandits.