Jessica Stuart is serious about music. Adamantly. Which may be why her band, the Jessica Stuart Few, makes such playful, warm, intriguing sounds.
“I’m not trying to do a commercial project,” says the Vancouver-bred, Toronto-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. “It’s about the art; we don’t do anything sort of throwaway.”
Definitely not throwaway is the band’s excellent second album, “Two Sides to Every Story.” Released this year. It’s a showcase of uniquely charming jazz-inflected songs.
From the trio’s musicianship to Stuart’s agile vocals, comparisons to Joni Mitchell are unavoidable. “I grew up in a very musical household, and Joni was one of the few non-classical artists whose records we had. But I’ve had a lot of influences, and I have my own way of getting that out of my head.”
Stuart’s way includes plenty of groove, a crystal-clean sound and an utter mastery of musical dynamics, from the gentle thunder of acoustic bass to the lightest touch on a guitar string.
The Jessica Stuart Few consists of Charles James on double bass and Tony Nesbit-Larking on drums, along with Stuart, who plays electric guitar as well as the koto, a 13-stringed Japanese instrument with a warm tone reminiscent of a mandolin or banjo one moment and a harpsichord the next.
“The trio is incredibly fun. We have so much fun playing and singing together. Our show is really energetic; you’ll probably see me head-banging with hair in my face at some point.”
The setlist for Thursday’s show will include songs from “Two Sides to Every Story” and the band’s 2010 album, “Kid Dream,” along with some new music.
The Jessica Stuart Few played in Calgary a year ago, and Stuart is happy to be returning. “We had a great time in Calgary last time. We’re looking forward to this show, and looking forward to meeting lots of new people.”