Singer/songwriter Jesse Palter launches new album in Detroit, where she started her singing-composing career.
Just as Jesse Palter launched her singing-composing career in Metro Detroit, she is launching public performances of songs from her new recording back in the same area.
Palter’s album, Paper Trail, the first with only her original music and lyrics, often relates to Michigan experiences. She considers this project special because Mack Avenue Records also launched in Detroit.
The record release party takes place Tuesday, July 23, at the Magic Bag in Ferndale, shortly after Paper Trail was chosen Album of the Week by LA Weekly.
“It’s important for this show to be a homecoming moment when I can feel the energy of my family and friends,” says Palter, now based in Los Angeles, but who got her start here at age 5 with musical theater, and then jazz band and songwriting in high school. “I just can’t wait to see all of my hometown people who have been following my career.
“I’ll be using a Detroit backing band, but I’ll also be bringing a longtime collaborator, Sam Barsh (a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer and keyboardist).
“Sam and I had a band, which we pushed for many years, and it was a big part of my story. Although I’m focusing on my solo projects, we still play music together and write music together, so it was important for me to bring him in from California.”
Palter describes her album as autobiographical.
“I put what I have been living into this record from start to finish,” she says. “It’s the story of a Detroit-born, LA-based gal living in a big city trying to achieve her dreams and the frustrations that come with that. I put the highs and lows into this music.”
Palter explains that the title of the album is a metaphor to explain her life, and she hopes it leaves a relatable trail for listeners. The song with the same title holds a very different meaning.
The song is a nostalgic reflection of a love that didn’t work out, but it communicates insight into a relationship and appreciates it for what it was — a moment in time with somebody.
“I’m a very nostalgic person, and when I’m home in Detroit, I go through my family videos and photo books,” she says about the background for the song. “I came across a photo of myself and an old boyfriend. We were so happy in the photo, but he’s somebody who’s not in my life anymore.
“The song is trying to process the fact that somebody can be in your life for a season and for a reason, and then they can be out of your life and you’re left with just a couple of smiling photos.”
In a very different direction, “Wildfire” is what she describes as a “beautiful, good, old-fashioned love song.” It was inspired by her experience of love, and the message is conveyed through voice, piano and string orchestration to keep the music as intimate and warm as the lyric.
“Goodbye My Friend” is the closer of the collection and the most emotional of the 10 songs. The idea came to her in a dream where a friend struggling with alcoholism had died. On the day she signed her recording deal with Mack Avenue, a relative had committed suicide, and she channeled heartfelt reactions into her vocalizing.
Ideas for songs can come to Palter at any time, and she transforms them into full-fledged expressions at a piano.
As this former University of Michigan student plans her Detroit visit, she can think back about being a junior cantor for Temple Israel in West Bloomfield and doing more recent benefits for the Anti-Defamation League in California.
She says she is grateful for career support from her husband, chiropractor Bryan Abrams.
“I write the music that I feel,” says Palter, who goes beyond defining this project as pop-rock.
“My working time is divided between writing music for myself, writing music for other artists and performing. I perform mostly all over LA and do some road work. My sincere hope is that I’m able to do a full bona fide tour this coming year to promote my recording.”
Jessie Palter will introduce her new album at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward, Ferndale. $15. (248) 544-1991. themagicbag.com.