By Derek Downham
Let's hear it for Jessica Stuart
I first met Jessica when I was hosting a jam in The Junction several years ago. She had just landed from the west coast, and was looking to meet players. I was drawn forthwith to her kind spirit, and intricate original music. I then hopped on drums with her as she suggested we play "Four Sticks" by Led Zeppelin. She played the 5/4 guitar riff and sang the vocals simultaneously, seemingly effortlessly. This is unheard of.
In my years, I have never met someone who could make technical prowess seem so natural and egoless.
But wait. It gets better.
She is a devout and chimerical koto player. If you aren't privy, a koto is a beautiful Japanese stringed instrument, almost like a mix of a harp, a dulcimer and a sitar. Look it up, as I am certain you will recognize it's dulcet tones. It's no easy feat to play such an instrument, yet Jessica finds a way to take the instrument to new levels, defying genre. Her abilities as a musician and songwriter have even taken her to Japan, where she was greeted with open arms by the musical community. Understandably so.
I'm so happy to watch her ascent in the Toronto (and world) music scene(s). She is truly a marvel, and if you ever get a chance to see The Jessica Stuart Few, consider yourself fortunate.
*deep breath* ALSO, she is in a deadly Radiohead tribute act called Idioteque. She is also guitarist with local folk phenom, Civil Wray, and a vocalist in the boundary pushing Element Choir.
Her talents deserve repeat visits, so follow her while we still have her in our fair city.