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CD REVIEW: Jessica Stone, "Seven Letters"
By David Lockeretz - 09/16/2002 - 02:21 AM EDT

Artist: Jessica Stone
Album: "Seven Letters"
CD Review: There are seven letters in the name Jessica, and she wants you to make sure you pronounce each and every one of them. "In our world of acronyms and abbreviations/of emails, facsimiles and chatroom masturbations/can't you see we are heading for/A literary starvation?" she sings in the thought-provoking title cut of this album.

In a clear, expressive voice, Jessica Stone mourns, she indicts, she tantalizes and she reflects. Jessica Stone's songs show shades of Joni Mitchell, Ani Di Franco, Paula Cole and more. She sings about the victims of the World Trade Center bombing, she sings about the late Amadu Diallo, she sings about love lost and found.

I like it, I really do. When you consider that right now millions of teenage girls are listening to mindless fluff such as, well, you can fill in the blanks, it's nice to know that singer/songwriters such as Jessica Stone provide an alternative for those who value their brains. There aren't many people who can deliver anger and forgiveness with equal conviction.

The next step for Stone is more musical development. The sparse piano and spoken word accompaniment to "Snow Angels" (her tribute to the victims of 9/11) and the hard-rocking accompaniment to "41 Gun Salute" (the song about Diallo) are promising, but much of the other musical composition is neither here nor there. Note that Joni Mitchell's unique voice and vivid story telling was accompanied by some of the greatest jazz/rock musicians of the genre. And although I'm no Alanis Morrisette fan, I have to admit that I've ripped off a few of Flea's licks from "You Ought To Know" (which of course he ripped off from Jaco Pastorius, the great jazz bassist who accompanied Mitchell on some of her own albums.)

Anyhow, enough digression: Stone is a promising songwriter whom I'm looking to hear more from. For more information about her, visit

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