The Scotsman Sessions #309: Jill Lorean

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Keen followers of Glasgow’s grassroots music scene should already be familiar with the intoxicating voice of Jill O’Sullivan, a Chicago-raised musician who has stayed, played and made music in Scotland for the past 15 years, first fronting the indie pop trio Sparrow and the Workshop, then in partnership with singer/violinist Jenny Reeve as Bdy_Prts and as a guest vocalist with the likes of Frightened Rabbit, Broken Chanter and The Grand Gestures.

O’Sullivan’s latest project is Jill Lorean, another heady triumvirate which formed when O’Sullivan approached erstwhile Frightened Rabbit multi-instrumentalist and production ace Andy Monaghan with her latest demos and recruited drummer Peter Kelly (The Kills, Union of Knives, Marnie) for some rhythmic propulsion.

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“Working with Andy and Pete is really something else,” she enthuses. “Andy is super chill and a total genius. He has an innate curiosity for all aspects of recording and mixing and possesses a skill set I lack. He’s also a brilliant musician who approaches music thoughtfully and with an open mind for experimentation. I love Pete’s drumming. He plays very creatively. It’s emotional and intuitive. I think that helps keep the music exciting and keeps us on our toes as players.”

Jill Lorean

Their debut EP, Not Your First, was recorded over one weekend and released in 2020 in the early days of lockdown, a time which O’Sullivan understandably characterizes as one of “ups and downs. I found certain things quite nice, like spending more time in the company of my daughter and my partner, learning that I enjoy embroidery, cooking nice dinners… Other parts I found quite difficult. But a lot of people had it worse than me. I heard some people refer to Covid as the great leveller but I don’t think that at all, I think it exposed massive inequality in our society and also showed us how much we undervalue a large portion of the workforce that basically look after us and keep the wheels spinning in a crisis.”

Jill Lorean keep the momentum going with the imminent release of their album This Rock, featuring liberated indie and psych folk rock songs inspired by O’Sullivan’s daughter, grandmother and life in general on this particular rock. The album was recorded in Monaghan’s 312 Studios, to where O’Sullivan returned to record her Scotsman Session version of album track Black Dog.

“I hope people dig This Rock,” she says. “It was made with a lot of love and work and it’s nice to be able to share it with folk. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s an odyssey of sorts, and the lyrics came about after I’d been reading a lot of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic books. So I guess my mind was in dark fantasy land for this song. Often for an acoustic session my instinct is to reach for my acoustic guitar but I wanted to try and play with just vocals and violin for a change.”

This Rock is released by Monohands Records on 1 April with an album launch to follow at The Hug & Pint, Glasgow on 28 May

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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