Jessie Payo comes home to LA a country star with Payote magic by Patrick O’Heffernan

Posted: August 19, 2014 in Country, music, Music Friday Live, New Music, New Release, Patrick O'Heffernan, Review, Singer
Tags: , , , , , ,


Jessie Payo, the diminutive soul singer with a larger than life voice has come home to LA, but more important, she has arrived.  After more than a decade of recording, training, touring  and singing with superstars like Melissa Etheridge, Jessie has found her county sound, and she created country magic at the Hotel Café in Hollywood Friday night. It’s no wonder her twitter handle is @payoetemusic.

She was booked to come on at 9 pm and while she was setting up the crowd poured in,  They were here for her. And she did not disappoint them.  For almost an hour, she rocked, seduced, mesmerized and united with a full house, demonstrating the  maturity and the self confidence of an experienced entertainer.  She brought us her own brand of gut-tightening, head bobbing  very personal country. Frankly, I had more fun listening to her at Hotel Café than I did at the Wynonna & the Big Noise concert at Century City.


Jessie opened with her heart rending “ I will Die Alone”,  which sailed through the room with her soul-piercing voice and a driving rhythm like a modern day  “Ghost Riders”. She painted  the picture of the little girl in saddle shoes who now sees that Because I was born with desert fire /Driven by my one desire/traded all I had for the great unknown/A bleeding heart I don’t possess and when I’m finally laid to rest/I will die alone. We knew were in in the presence of a musical magician.

And then the magician became a  human, a diminutive woman in a green dress laughing and joking with her fans about being a leprechaun.  After she introduced her very solid country band  she shifted the tempo and the mood with “She will Love Again”, complete with southern twang, pedal steel accents and a story set squarely in the country form: When she was young she took her chances/The queen of hearts to Every man/But her luck ran out with her one true lover.  As with everything she sings, she brought in a touch of soul, a touch of blues and a touch of angel.

Two songs later, after the familiar “Hands Together”, she cut loose with “Caleb Meyer” and had the audience singing along with her.  They were energized! Then, like the sophisticated show woman she is, she took that energy and poured it into the Patsy Cline song “Crazy”, with  Hotel Café resident guitarist Zane Chaney.  The effect was heart-stopping.  You could hear people whisper, “that is so beautiful” as she sang.

She kept the energy going with new songs  “Come Clean”, “Dance Real Close”, and  favorites  from her Down the Mountain album, “Heaven Help Me” and Your love Don’t Look Like Mine”.   And, again like the consummate show woman,  she saved the best for last. She belted out a new song, “Smoking Gun”,  a country rock earworm that literally had people clapping and dancing and shouting for more.

Not every song Jessie Payo sang Friday night was a Billboard top 25 hit, but several were, especially “I Will Die Alone” and “Smoking Gun”.  Jessie had a lot to say and in taking 11 songs to say it, some songs were blow-the-roof-off highlights and others were serious – and not so serious – conversations with her audience.  But her show at Hotel Café said clearly that she has arrived; Jessie Payo has the experience, the maturity, the talent and the magic to be who she is and succeed because she is true to herself.  A little more focus, a little more discipline and a lot more songs will carry her to top…it’s all there inside of her and much of it came out Friday night.  Fortunately, she knows that that and told me after the show she is plunging back into song writing, building up the inventory to support solo shows in the larger venues she needs to accommodate her outsized talent. When she does, I will be there, front and center to bask in the magic.


By Patrick O’Heffernan. Host, Music FridayLive!

Jessie Payo

Down the Mountain available at the website, iTunes and Soundcloud



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s