Jess And The Bandits lead singer Jessica Clemmons has had somewhat of a rollercoaster year. National Rock Review recently caught up with the country star herself to talk weddings, albums and hurricanes.
NRR: Hi Jess. Thank you so much for taking the time in your busy schedule to speak to us here at National Rock Review. Busy because you are getting married soon. Congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful day. Is everything sorted?
Jess Thank you! I’m so excited! In a few days time we will have put the ring on it! Everything is pretty much sorted, just the last few checks to do. Luckily I have a great wedding planner to assist me with everything, which means this girl can have a few days of pampering. A girl’s got to do, what a girl’s got to do…
NRR: How did you guys meet? Is he a musician too?
Jess Chris is a photographer. We met through Church. We clicked straight away and I knew he was the one.
NRR: You’ve had an emotional year of ups and downs. Hurricane Harvey affected you and the family a great deal. How is everything there now?
Jess Oh wow, there has been some real highs and some real lows. Everything is pretty much sorted now thankfully. It is the second time I have been on tour and flood damage has effected my home. I remember the day of my final show in Glasgow two years ago and getting the call from my parents. I was so thankful to be able to just fly home to see them. I felt horrible cancelling the full tour in September, but I knew where I needed to be. I can’t wait to see everyone in February! We will have a massive party to make up for lost time.
NRR: Then you had the album Smoke & Mirrors released to great reviews. We love it here. It must have been nice to get it out. Was it a stereotypically hard “second album”?
Jess: I learnt a lot from the debut. We were blown away by everyone’s response to the release, but you also have to listen to the feedback and work it into your next move. We tried to not just create the album we thought the fans wanted, but also tried to get to the heart of the music that has always moved me. Smoke and Mirrors is a real mix of genres, but then so is my record collection. I will always be country, but I wanted to show the other sounds that make me who I am.
NRR: The tour to support it was understandably postponed, due to the results of the hurricane demanding your time at home, and has been rescheduled for February – you must be itching to get out and play the new album live?
Jess: I can’t wait! I thankfully got to play some of the songs from the album live at festivals over the summer, but I can’t wait to get out there and share the record with everyone. It is the best way to learn what these songs mean to people. It is really letting my babies out into the world and seeing them party with you all.
NRR: We are certainly looking forward to covering it – what can we expect to see?
Jess: It is going to be a good ole Jess and the Bandits party. Expect singing, dancing and plenty of fun! We can’t wait to see you there.
NRR: And of course you have just released the Christmas EP, Always Christmas Eve. It’s a great present for the fans, and you have worked with some great people on it. How did the collaborations come about? Was it people you had known? How was it recorded?
Jess: The EP was recorded with some of my closest friends on the UK Country circuit. We are a tight-knit community, and I am lucky that the artists on the EP are joining me for some of the shows on the tour. After the ups and downs of the year, I wanted to end the year on a real high – collaborating with some of my favourites and of course marrying the man of my dreams. What more could I wish for? As for recording, well I had to record my parts in the States and the others recorded in the UK, then our producer mixed it all together!
NRR: So what are your plans for Christmas? – A family affair?
Jess: I will be spending it with my new husband and our family. I can’t wait.
NRR: Well I hope you have a lovely time. Then it’s into the new year with the tour. What comes after that for Jess and The Bandits?
Jess: As I am having a quiet month in December on the work front, I shall be right back into Jess & The Bandits mode as 2018 kicks off. January will be rehearsals and promo time, before the tour starts in February!
NRR: Well I hope it all works out well. I shall look forward to catching you in February;- In the meantime, thanks again so much for speaking with us. I hope the wedding is the perfect day for you. And wish you and the family and the rest of the band a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Jess: Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Jess and The Bandits forthcoming UK tour kicks off on Feb 6th, 2018 in Hull and finishes on Feb 17th in Glasgow. For a full list of dates, ticket links and further information please visit the links listed below. Get along if you can, it promises to be a great show.
The group’s sophomore album Smoke and Mirrors and their new festive EP Always Christmas Eve are available now through Jess & The Bandit’s website.