Jess Lamb Expands Her Sound with ‘Free’

This Friday, Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter Jess Lamb will showcase a new EP and musical direction with a free release show at MOTR Pub. Plus, Wonky Tonk hosts a local release party for her Stuff We Leave Behind full-length, "Kenny Ozzfest" re

Dec 1, 2015 at 4:23 pm

This Friday, Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter Jess Lamb will be putting out a new EP, her first major release since her post-American Idol single, “Memories.” In honor of the release, Lamb is performing a free show Friday at MOTR Pub (1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, Joining Lamb and her band for the 9 p.m. event are Dayton, Ohio’s Moira and Cincinnati’s The Perfect Children.

The EP — titled Free and featuring the tracks “Lovers on the Run” and “Step Out of the Dark”  — marks an expansion of Lamb’s musical approach as she moves into new territories that were only hinted at previously. Dubbed “Industrial Gospel” by Lamb, her new recording is more heavily focused on synths, beats and guitars, which help create an atmospheric sound that’s even darker than her earlier work.

The singer and her bandmates — Warren Harrison (who provides the beats and synth work) and Kasey Williams (guitar, bass) — see this project as the next phase of Lamb’s musical journey. In many ways, she is still the soulful independent artist who captured local hearts and then national attention during her stint on American Idol at the beginning of 2015. But her latest venture is providing Lamb with the freedom to make changes in her performance and general approach.

While “Memories” was professionally produced by David Sisko (who has worked with Justin Timberlake, among many other international performers), Lamb is now focused on engineering and producing locally with Harrison. Lamb is also dialing back shows where she performs covers in favor of more original performances. Her long-standing piano gigs at Japp’s and other area bars won’t be ending, but her other outings will be more robust, both musically and visually. Harrison and Williams will be joining her for more performances (Friday is the trio’s live debut) and the group has added a projection show to enhance the experience. Lamb says she is planning on playing out of town more often, including select tour dates with the legendary Bootsy Collins.

While her new EP is still undeniably Jess Lamb, it allows fans to see a more complete picture of what she has been working toward for years. With the proper resources and bandmates behind her, Lamb is able to show the world what Cincinnati has known for a long time — Jess Lamb is here to stay. (Review by Nick Grever)

More Local Notes

Wonky Tonk’s album, Stuff We Leave Behind, has been building buzz online and at college radio stations across the country. Friday at the Northside Tavern (4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside,, the Northern Kentucky-based Indie/Country/Roots singer/songwriter will host a local release party in honor of the full-length. Cincinnati’s Coconut Milk and St. Louis’ The Wilderness join Wonky Tonk (profiled in CityBeat last month) for the free, 9 p.m. show.

"Denmark" by Wonky Tonk from Mopics on Vimeo.

• Saturday at MVP Sports Bar & Grille (6923 Plainfield Road, Silverton,, several area Rock acts will get together to celebrate the birthday of local music singer/promoter/supporter Kenny Ozz at the eighth annual Kenny Ozzfest. The popular all-ages event begins at 4:30 p.m. and features special touring guests Tuff, a Glam Metal band from Phoenix. Local artists on the bill include Chakras, Kill City, Sinful Crow, Lying in Ruins, The New Machine, The Letdowns, Lazy Ass Destroyer, Red Soul Rising and Pagan Holiday. Admission is $10.

• Acclaimed Cincinnati singer/songwriter Kim Taylor has a folksy new duo project with veteran Boston-based artist Todd Thibaud called Water and Sand. Last month, the two musicians — who performed a few songs during Taylor’s set at the Southgate House Revival’s Cincy Folk Festival in June — launched a crowd-funding campaign on to help pay for and release of their already-recorded debut album, reaching their initial goal in just four days. Fans can still donate/pre-order the album through the campaign — for more info, links and a sample of the music, visit

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]