I have a wide variety of musical tastes. I live in Nashville, Tennessee since 1998. After moving to Nashville from my home state of Utah, I became enlightened to the world of collaboration. I play the guitar, electric and acoustic, the piano, the harmonica, the bass guitar, and some alto recorder. I tour with a duo consisting of a percussion/ back up vocalist. I have recorded 7 studio albums to date, and I enjoy performing for audiences of all ages. I perform in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers particularly for the Alzheimers and Hospice patients.

Tell the Truth i(nspiration behi

Jill Sissel releases "Tell the Truth" blues album

By Dave Carew

Jill Sissel has been writing and performing her acclaimed Americana music in the Nashville area for more than 20 years. In 1999, Just Plain Folks nominated her for Americana Album of the Year, and she has garnered numerous other awards and honors since. Jill has just released a soulful, evocative blues album, Tell the Truth, and Underground Nashville caught up with her for this exclusive interview about it:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What were you particularly thinking about or feeling as you wrote the songs for Tell the Truth?

JILL SISSEL: I began this blues project in the fall of 2011. Before that, my co-writer Mike Kuhl and I had written "Minimum Wage," and, as we wrote it, I sang it in first person. Next, I began to notice things were breaking, falling apart. My car broke down, my AC unit went out in the house, and I started to freak. I remembered wondering why was I so drawn to the blues? I had always written positive, uplifting, and sometimes sad love songs, but the blues went around the corner, man. I found the culture so primitive yet so free. This paradox kept driving me on, so I bought a book by William Ferris entitled Blues from the Delta (Anchor Books, 1979), and marveled at the symmetric nature of the "blues man" and the preacher man. Both had driving forces that the layman thinks is Good vs. Evil. I mean, the very duality in human nature is expressed in the blues, and this is what I was feeling. I broke out of a box of conformity, I cut up my credit cards, I quit cable, I sold my comfortable home, and moved into a smaller space to live within my means. The illusion went away and the blues moved in to stay.

UN: How did those thoughts and feelings affect the album and/or make it distinctive?

JS: I became a pilgrim of the blues and my partner and producer, Liz Ficalora, and I went to the Delta. We went down to Clarksdale. I had to go. I went to see the first one-strand in the Delta Museum. It's the first slide guitar! Muddy Water's original cabin is reconstructed, and on the outside was the one-strand. I felt like I had seen the Holy Grail. So as I continued writing the songs for the album, I started to express and focus on the inequalities in my own life, as I experienced them. I wrote the song "Sticks and Stones" after someone told me they hated me because I was gay. What do you say to that? The story "Change" came when Mike Kuhl had seen a homeless veteran downtown and he didn't need just loose change, he needed real change in his life and the societal attitudes of homeless people. I just started listening to the sounds of oppression, and giving it a voice. It's not unique, but it was a first for me. I usually write "to the solution," but this time I wasn't afraid to see my shadow side and embrace it.

UN: What do you feel is MOST important for people to know about Jill Sissel as an artist?

JS: I guess I would want people to know that not everything is as they see it. I certainly am a walking contradiction, and that tension and dynamic is what makes me who I am. I honor the souls who reach beyond their comforts, and when expressing something like a song, they make someone think and see something from another's perspective. I always write what I know. I want them to know me as a seeker of truth.

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Jill Sissel Biography

Just Plain Folks nominated "THE BUILDER" in 1999 for BEST AMERICANA ALBUM

Just Plain Folks nominated "Love Knows No Distance" in 2001 for BEST AMERICANA ALBUM AND SONG.

Just Plain Folks nominated the single, "TOO SOON TO SAY" in 2003 for BEST FEMALE SINGER / SONGWRITER

Honorable mention by NSAI for collaborative efforts with Paul
Jackson's composition: "SAFE INSIDE"

*Placed 7 songs with independent artists

*Placed 2 songs in independent movies

Produced the theme song for the "MURPHY'S LAW" a Fountain Head Production

* Has opened shows for Dan Seals, Jo Dee Messina, Ty England and Tracy Lawrence.

"The 10 songs on this CD are all co-written by this multi-talented artist.
Sissel has a warm, sexy voice and sets the tone of the album with the title song. She also gets to show off her guitar pickin' skills on every track as well as her other instrumental talents".

Brad Fisher - Nashville Music Guide

"I Googled, 'Jill Sissel' WOW! Six pages of info choices immediately slapped me in the face! She is an incredibly talented and prolific music machine! She does it all. I learned quickly (YouTube never lies) that Jill is an accomplished blues guitarist".
Tim Ross - Nashville Music Scene

Music Row, Robert K. Oermann Single Review for "Love Knows no Distance" written by Jill Sissel (ASCAP), and Steve Bigler (BMI):

"It's a little under produced, but the song has a cool hook and the whawha electric guitar behind her "dry" vocal is teasing and wonderfully ear-catching."

About Jill Sissel Music
CD Release: TELL THE TRUTH 2013

Jill is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
She has recorded 7 studio albums to-date.

  • Member Since: 2011
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