Jess Chambers

Jess Chambers

About Jess Chambers from Wellington


Jess Chambers plays heart music: vignettes of emotions and scenes, elevated to art by a haunting and intimate voice and lush alt-county instrumentation. Her new album named ‘Desire’ that is to be released in September is an ode to love and to absence, transporting the listener to a hushed and intimate room where stories are told.
The album reveals an artist in her prime, knowing exactly what she wants. Its unhurried and at ease: everything is in its right place. There is simplicity and a sparseness: nothing that is not needed.


Her voice is effortless and pure, reaching high and strong and dropping to a husky whisper. Its storytelling is accompanied by a rich soundscape of guitars and strings, setting the album firmly in the modern-alt-country/folk tradition of Gillian Welch, EmmyLou Harris and Fleet Foxes.


It is a worthy successor to Jess’ acclaimed previous work. After first making her name in the electronic scene through collaborations with Rhian Sheehan, Module, and The Upbeats, Jess’ debut solo album ‘Jess Chambers and the Firefly Orchestra’ (2008) was a return to the folk music she closely identifies with. The album has a dreamy quality: the emotional intensity and honesty of the lyrics counterbalanced by the sweetness of the songs and taonga puoro (flute). Reviewers aptly described it as "sweet, soothing music from a rising young local talent" (NZ Herald) and "a splendidly lyrical and haunting piece of work" (Salient). The delicate anthem ‘Island’ which was used as the soundtrack behind the NZ Green Party’s 2008 election campaign went on to be nominated for the prestigious New Zealand song award ‘The APRA Silver Scroll’.


Jess' collaboration with a host of New Zealand’s most respected independent musicians in ‘The Woolshed Sessions’ (2008) was similarly well-received by audiences and reviewers alike. Shows sold-out nationwide, and Jess's almost-pop contributions were described as having "irresistible choruses that belie the heartache lurking in the lyrics" by the well-known music journalist and critic Nick Bollinger. ‘Stringing me along’ from ‘The Woolshed Sessions’ album won the APRA ‘Best NZ Country Song’ award in 2009.


Jess’ live show is known for its intimacy, her onstage presence reflecting the storytelling that lies at the heart of her songs. Her (2009) WOMAD performance was described as "stunning... receiving standing ovations from the audience- A response that alludes towards a very, very bright future for this infectiously irrepressible young singer.”.
Jess' new album ‘Desire’, reflects her increasingly strong connection to American alt/folk-country music and perhaps unsurprisingly, she is following that music. Following her New Zealand tour this September, she will relocate from Wellington to the US, where her mother is from, and where she lived much of her childhood.


No doubt, there will be further stories to be told.







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Links Other bands that link here:
The Moon Whispers, Harriet And The Matches
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