Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Jesse Norell
Jesse Norell is an indie rock singer-songwriter and guitar teacher from Minneapolis, MN. After playing in bands until 2007, Jesse stopped writing songs and playing shows until his daughter, Alyssa, came along. His debut solo LP “Aorta Borealis” is his return to making music. It’s about his journey as Alyssa’s dad through two heart surgeries, finding wellness after a crisis, and the joy of being loved by someone with Trisomy 21. The album is divided in half, starting with a darker, story-driven set of songs followed by a handful of more celebratory ones.
Jesse’s songs have a cinematic feel, with melodic, and often layered vocals. On “Aorta Borealis” the guitars, bass, drums, keys and strings swell and recede to help the listener feel significance of each step along the journey, calling to mind Jesse’s influences, like Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion, Mute Math, and Sunny Day Real Estate (the latter of which wrote the lone cover song on the album). The songs sweep from melancholic ballads to riffy punk rock and finally to contented, joyous pop anthems, all while keeping the lyrics front and center. Everything comes out of a desire to connect; to be a soundtrack for those with a front row seat to hardship, and to show that the darker the story, the more appreciative we are when the light returns.