The first thing to strike you about Jesse Parent is the voice. Warm and resonant, it immediately draws you in with its emotional authenticity. It is a voice you can trust. Then there are his well-crafted songs, sporting strong melodies and perceptive lyrics that help illuminate the human condition. Together, these skills mark the Kitchener/Waterloo-based singer/songwriter as a major talent, one to be watched closely.
Jesse's compelling artistry has been showcased on three full-length albums to date, 2015's About Time, 2016's Live At The Schoolhouse Theatre, and 2019's Somedays, Tomorrows, and Best Laid Plans. With this latest release Jesse finds himself at home as a folk musician.
He has years of extensive gigging under his belt, regularly playing a circuit of venues in the Kitchener/Waterloo, Guelph and Stratford area. He has played such notable Toronto venues as the Horseshoe Tavern and Cameron House, toured the East Coast, and played shows in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.
Jesse explains that much of his material features "my unique perspective on personal experiences. That is what every songwriter has, their individual experience. Everyone falls in love, has their heart broken, has money troubles etc. All I have is my own take on it, and hopefully people connect with it."
Parent excels at writing narrative songs too, like the colourful storytelling of "Wanted In Chicago," a highlight track on both "About Time" and the live album. "Lonely Gunman," another evocative story song that premiered on Live at The Schoolhouse Theatre, was used in the soundtrack for a 2015 feature film, Man Vs.
Jesse is also skilled in using geographic locations to help set a song's mood, as on "Quebec City in The Rain", and "Bon Echo". Based on his own experience camping at the park over the years, "Bon Echo" has had a real impact. Ontario Parks had the music video linked to their website for the entire summer of 2015, and Jesse performed the song at their 50th anniversary celebration that same summer.
The life of a fully independent artist isn't an easy one, but Jesse Parent's passion for music still burns bright. "I can't just put it down, it's literally as much a part of me as my right leg," he stresses.
Following his artistic evolution promises to be a richly rewarding experience.
- Kerry Doole, Exlaim!