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Jess Klein

Jess Klein

Muddy Bottom Blues

Program #159 (February 15 at 8:00 p.m. and February 16 at 3:00 p.m.)

Americana singer/songwriter Jess Klein rose out of Boston's music scene in the late '90s with a defiant mix of bluesy roots rock and emotionally resonant folk songcraft.

A stint on the Rykodisc label helped her win an international following, as did releases like 2000's Draw Them Near and 2006's critically lauded City Garden. Later relocating to Austin, Klein issued several records via German label Blue Rose, including highlights like 2012's Without a Veil and 2018's Back to My Green.

A native of Rochester, New York, Klein began playing guitar during her college years in Kingston, Jamaica, relocating to Boston, Massachusetts in the late '90s, where she cut her teeth in the local singer/songwriter scene.

A somewhat rough-hewn solo acoustic release, Flattery appeared in 1996, followed two years later by the more polished Wishes Well Disguised, which introduced a more Americana and rock-oriented full-band sound.

Establishing herself on the East Coast and winning the Telluride Troubadour contest in Colorado, Klein secured a deal with Rykodisc Records, which issued her label debut, Draw Them Near, in 2000. With a high-profile label behind her, Klein's reach now extended internationally, and she supported the release with a world tour including an appearance in front of thousands at Japan's Fuji Rock Festival.

In 2001, she joined the collective Voices on the Verge alongside fellow songwriters Erin McKeown, Rose Polenzani, and Beth Amsel. For her next solo release on Ryko, Klein worked with another Boston-based singer/songwriter, Marc Copley, to produce 2005's Strawberry Lover, building on her fiery mix of roots-infused rock and thoughtful folk-rock. Her next two albums, 2006's acclaimed City Garden and 2009's Bound to Love, both appeared on the United for Opportunity label.

Now based in Austin, Texas, Klein continued to turn out quality material both solo and with a full band. Operating without an American label, she issued 2012's defiant Without a Veil, which was released in Europe by German label Blue Rose Records.

2014's Learning Faith followed a similar route, while the 2015 live set, Bootleg, displayed both Klein's stage prowess and that of her backing band. Klein returned in 2018 with the more stylistically varied Back to My Green.

(provided by Allmusic)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."