Singer-songwriter Jillette Johnson has been playing music live since she was just 12, and has been compared to artists including Fiona Apple and Adele. Following the critical acclaim for her 2013 debut album Water In A Whale, Johnson has now released the follow-up, All I Ever See In You Is Me, produced by the legendary Dave Cobb at Nashville’s RCA Studio A.
The album opens with Bunny, which starts with a gentle piano introduction. Johnson’s breathy vocals remind me a little of Jenny Lewis and she shows off some serious emotion in her voice, including hitting a major high note! Her trademark bittersweet lyrics and atmospheric melodies marry perfectly together and the whole thing is offset by a lovely sweetness in her voice.
Other highlights include the lonesome Love Is Blind, which sounds like it’s been lifted straight from the soundtrack of a Western, the gentle, dreamy In Repair and the yearning Not Tonight. Throughout the album the thing that ties it all together is Johnson’s soaring vocals and the strong storytelling that comes through in her lyrics, in a way that reminded me a lot of Joni Mitchell in her heyday. She also shows her willingness to speak out on social issues, such as the floating melody of self-empowerment anthem Throw Out Your Mirror and the sassy gothic vibes of Thumbelina.
However the standout song for me has to be Flip A Coin. Written in response to the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, it’s a soulful, jazzy yet defiant song, with simple instrumentation allowing the power and control in Johnson’s voice to shine through. I also really liked the delicate ballad Like You Raised Me, a tribute to Johnson’s parents, and the title track, which showcases the emotion in her voice wonderfully.
Overall I really enjoyed All I Ever See In You Is Me. It has a lovely 1960s folk vibe running through it, making it a perfect soundtrack to lazy summer days. But it also shows that Johnson isn’t afraid to speak her mind, whether that’s about major matters affecting the world today or more personal issues. The stripped-back production means her ability as a vocalist, songwriter and pianist stand out and show why she’s one of the most underrated singer-songwriters around today. This album is an absolute triumph and I can’t wait to hear what she does next.
Track list: 1. Bunny 2. Love Is Blind 3. Throw Out Your Mirror 4. Holiday 5. Flip A Coin 6. In Repair 7. Not Tonight 8. Like You Raised Me 9. I’m Sorry 10. All I Ever See In You Is Me 11. Thumbelina Record label: Rounder Records Release date: 28 July 2017