Album Review: Jessica Paige “Branching Out”

Uniting her love of songwriting and composition with pop and folk influences, Jessica Paige makes her debut with her full-length album Branching Out.


Growing up, Jessica was classically trained on piano and violin. She first picked up the guitar while studying composition in college, and began writing with both guitar and piano. In Branching Out, she follows in the footsteps of artists such as Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, and others who have inspired her through her own evolution as a musician and composer. Jessica uses a variety of instrumentation to give each track on Branching Out its own unique texture.


All songs are written and composed by Jessica. In addition to singing, she is heard playing piano, electric keyboard, organ, violin, hand percussion, and synths. Also featured are Frank DiMari on guitar, bass, and drums as well as Larry Bustamante on Baritone saxophone in “Other Fish in the Sea.” Jessica uses a variety of instrumentation to give each track on Branching Out its own unique texture.



Some Kind of Way: This upbeat track kicks off the album with feel-good blast. Jessica’s strong and well-rounded voice is complimented by electric and acoustic guitar.


Other Fish in the Sea: Unlike the traditional dreary break-up song, this track is undefeated and optimistic. The buoyant vocal melody is coupled seamlessly with baritone saxophone to add a different texture to this pop song.


Room to Breathe: While taking a more stripped down approach, only featuring vocals, guitar, and tambourine, this song maintains a full-bodied sound and great conviction.


Once Was Love: While maintaining a minimalistic approach, Jessica adds a few layers by adding piano and light synth to her guitar and harmonized vocals.


Cracks in the Cement: Although Jessica admits to not having any jazz training, this track loudly echoes the likes of Django Reinhardt through Jessica’s guitar playing.


Lifeline: Jessica shares her relationship with music and composition as an artist in this beautifully vulnerable track. Her lyrics express the intimate links between herself, her instruments, and her audience. At the same time, the music she plays on the piano retains the same assurance that’s continuous throughout the entire album.


Take my Chances: Tackling themes of budding romance, Jessica does a beautiful job of conveying both the excitement and uncertainty of beginning a new love.


The Cold: This track richly displays Jessica’s roots as a classical musician, while her lyrics express her ​journey as a songwriter.


Running in Place​: Making a go at being an artist is difficult, and one of the challenges artists face is the idea​ that life would be easier with a more plain lifestyle. The defiant Jessica sees a better life doing what she enjoys, and with “Running in Place”, she sings that nothing will stop her from doing what makes her feel alive.


I Do​: Jessica takes the dive into self love and the need to love one self before allowing love to come from someone else. “I Do” gives the heart strings a good pull by presenting the kind of insecurities everyone must overcome before they can allow themselves to be loved.


Away for You​: Jessica brings back her Django-styled guitar for this sweet tune. The song gradually becomes more filled out and lush as she adds more instrumentation in the chorus, building through the end.

Sorry​: This particular solo piano piece sounds very similar to the opening verse of Elton John’s “This Song Has No Title”, from his album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Jessica fills the space with a very lush sound as she sings this song of desire and wonder of what could have been.


Start Again​: Branching out is capped off with this sharp-witted, yet mellow sounding piece. Though the melody and instrumentation sounds cheerful, the lyrics show that Jessica is no fool, and will not be taken for one. Contrasting with the full band at the beginning of the album, “Start Again” continues to keep the balance of Branching Out in tact with a savory ending.


To check out the entire album head over to Jessica’s BandCamp profile.

Michelle Eliza
Michelle Eliza
Michelle Eliza is a recovering opera singer, who sought recovery in rock n roll music and roller derby. Michelle moved to New York City after earning her bachelor degree in music from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After a few years singing in operatic productions, Michelle exchanged heels and high notes for wheels and loud noises. She currently lives in Brooklyn where she sings with the rock band Schmeeze.