It starts with the voice. Before you notice the words, before you detect the gently curling melodies tugging them along, this is what hits you first: It’s warm and rich and touched with a soft Southern twang, as likely to swing down into its earthy lower register as arch upwards into a hopeful trill; it’s steady and sure but flecked with a certain weary sadness that stops you dead, draws you near. It’s beautiful. It knows something.
This voice is Jill Andrews, who’s been singing her whole life: as a little girl in Johnson City, Tenn., as a camp counselor plucking out three chords on an acoustic guitar under swaying pine trees, as one-half of The Everybodyfields—and, since 2009, as an increasingly formidable singer/songwriter making her way on her own.
The Knoxville-based Andrews crafts beguiling, startlingly intimate songs that merge her voice with her effortless, classic-pop sensibility and keen eye for human drama—all the unspoken truths between lovers, devastating confessions whispered to friends, silent prayers offered up during the longest, loneliest nights. A smart, subtle tunesmith and a gently wise songwriter, Andrews’ songs shuffle in and settle down with little fanfare, then quietly go about the business of ripping your heart straight out of your chest.
A rock-solid frontwoman in sundresses and Frye boots, Andrews leads a full band on record and on stage, drawing in tender piano, shuffling drums and searing electric guitar to support her careful acoustic picking. Wherever she plays, she offers up a vision of herself as a singular, quickly-maturing artist with the power to cross lines of genre and geography, taste and time. She is a force—and a voice—to be reckoned with.