Single Release: Jess Rae, “Let In The Light”

Jess Rae - Let In the Light

“Face the sun and leave the shadows behind / We’re given stars to guide us when it’s night / Dancing like a child and living wide eyed / To fall in love with the moon ‘til the sun begins to rise / And let in the light / Let in the light…” 

Returning home last night from an enjoyable weekend in Southern Ontario, this half of Team GDW took time (when not behind the wheel) to peruse some of the latest single releases from across Canada – because, as we all know, this is a well that (thankfully) never runs dry.  

When the name Jess Rae Ayre jumped out at me, I sensed some recognition of the name, but could not immediately place from where. Digging a little deeper, I recalled that Jess is a founding member of Winnipeg, MB trio Sweet Alibi – and a quick skim of the GDW archives resulted in only two hits – both being our social media Wednesday video features, covering their “Slow Down” single release in October 2021, and being name-dropped for backing vocal duties on Jadea Kelly’s “Any Old Boat” single release just two months later. 

Our lack of coverage for this fabulous roots-pop-soul trio is certainly unintentional, so allow us to make amends by spending a little time here today to spread the word about “Let in the Light,” the recent single from band member Jess Rae Ayre (solo moniker Jess Rae). 

Jess Rae

Looking up at the cloud covered sky / I need to find truth after all these lies / I’m feeling kinda restless like a lost paper kite / Looking in the distance for a rose-colored skyline / And let in the light.” While traces of the Sweet Alibi DNA can be detected from the opening instrumentation, both the relaxed pace and expressive vocals from Jess quickly indicate a shift from her customary pop elements towards a warm and lush fusion of soul, Americana, and jazz.  

Blasts of horns, muted B3 keys, handclaps, and gospel-inspired backing harmonies round out the tune, filling in the blanks at perfectly timed intervals – and combine to elevate Jess Rae into Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse territory – not a bad place to be, in my opinion. “Let in the Light” provides a fantastic teaser of new music to follow, with Rae’s solo debut album, “No Straight Lines,” tentatively scheduled for a summer 2024 release. 

Photo Credit: Artist Website 

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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