Jillette Johnson: Strong But Sweet

Whiskey & Frosting is an eyebrow-raising title, particularly for a young artist's debut EP. Yet it's an apt description of Jillette Johnson's distinctive blend of heart-on-her-sleeve intimacy and piano-pop opulence. Indeed, Johnson is that rare brand of singer-songwriter who'd feel as comfortable in a dive bar, hammering a battered stand-up, as she would sitting behind a grand piano with a symphony surrounding her. It's these qualities that unfold themselves exquisitely on what just might be her EP's finest moment: "Torpedo," which, at its core, is a classic blue-eyed, confessional ballad. "They've been hunting me for decade/ Barracudas on a warpath/ But they'll never get me," she reveals with a soulfulness haunted by desperation. Ultimately, though, her message is one of defiance and perseverance—of beating odds when they're so clearly stacked against you. Johnson drives this home during the soaring chorus; with lavish orchestral touches swirling about her, she declares, "So come on torpedo do your worst." No wonder the New York-bred musician recently turned down a spot on NBC's The Voice; her artistry is already mature and fully prepared to be accepted on its own terms. – Justin Farrar, Google Play

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