"...reflective." - Billboard Magazine
"Some artists seem like natural-born storytellers." - Americana Highways
"The angelic quality of McNeal’s voice...enters, floating and dipping in the reverberating soundscape." - Red Line Roots
"...a lush, mid-tempo new track." - The Boot
"How she finds time to make beautiful music like this is beyond me...she seems to have found a place where this lifestyle has resulted in some personal wisdom bubbling over into her songwriting.” - Folk Radio UK
"...a foot-stomping gospel-tinged nod to her roots." - Guitar Girls Magazine
Raised in rural Washington state in the log house built by her parents, Jessi McNeal has been singing and writing songs in some shape or form for most of her life. Simple hymns and old country tunes formed the soundtrack of her childhood, and her ear for melody and love of storytelling developed at an early age.
Billboard premiered her latest album The Driveway and called the collection of songs "reflective." "That's definitely how I process life: pen and guitar in hand," McNeal told Billboard.
The album encompasses stories that illustrate the idea that McNeal calls the “messy” middle. "I feel like the overarching theme of the album is really about the middle ground - the in-between, the waiting, the hope-not-yet seen," McNeal told Wide Open Country.
Americana, bluegrass, and folk traditions are present and alive in her lyrics and music, as the imagery and landscapes of country life weave their way into her songs. Her sound is comforting and inviting, though she doesn’t shy away from the difficulties and struggles of life’s journey, instead, using songwriting as a soothing balm for many wounds, creating songs rimmed in redemption.
In the premiere of album track "Out Of Reach," McNeal told The Bluegrass Situation that she is "trying to rest more in what I know to be true as opposed to getting hung up on all of the possibilities and worst-case scenarios when I’m facing a decision.” With its darker tonal palette and simple, unfussy production, the album's songs swirl with pedal and lap steel, vibe-y electric guitar, and banjo and mandolin, providing well-placed levity in some of the album’s darker corners.
Jessi and her husband have four children, and they make their home north of Seattle in the Skagit Valley on their five-acre farm.
"Jessi McNeal has the perfect Americana biography…and this background is brought to the fore on her new album." - Americana-UK
"How she finds time to make beautiful music like this is beyond me, considering that as well as helming a large family she also runs a 5-acre 'working' farm. That said, she seems to have found a place where this lifestyle has resulted in some personal wisdom bubbling over into her songwriting." - Folk Radio UK
"There is an immediate heaviness to this single from Jessi McNeal’s forthcoming release. Drums throb and heaving guitar lines punctuate the track from the get go. But there is a balance. The angelic quality of McNeal’s voice soon parts that heaviness and enters, floating and dipping in the reverberating soundscape. The breaks giving perfect reprieve to, perhaps, match the heaviness of her words." - Red Line Roots
"Angelic-voiced Americana songcrafter Jessi McNeal has unveiled 'In Between,' a poignant new track and accompanying video from her forthcoming stunner The Driveway, out on August 16th." - Broadway World
"Some artists seem like natural-born storytellers. When you hear the new album The Driveway by Jessi McNeal, you realize that she is one of them. This album was produced, recorded, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Ryan McAllister, who also provides backing vocals. It is a tremendous display of storytelling and songwriting. It is also a fine example of how an album doesn’t need to go heavy on the volume to be powerful." - Americana Highways
"Jessi McNeal's beautiful voice and the Americana arrangements are the perfect remedy to the hurried soul. It's a rare treat to find a songwriter that feels like they have walked the dirt roads of your heart. Jessi McNeal did that exactly with these songs that touch on longing and struggle, hope and gratitude. 'Promised Land' is one of this year's best albums." -Dave Trout (Under the Radar, radarradio.net)
Jessi McNeal's 'Promised Land' is a blues-tinged Americana record filled with candid real life lyrics and heartfelt, soulful vocals. Her first full-length studio album reveals the depth of Jessi's writing and is paired with the perfect amount of tastefully arranged instrumentation. With songs about struggles, family, and our never-ending need of God's grace, this is a significant and beautifully executed recording. - Larry Stephan (Editor and Writer at The Phantom Tollbooth)
“With ‘Promised Land,' Jessi McNeal set out to meet people right where they were at — and that is exactly where she has arrived. Through this collection of songs, she takes us to the rawest places of pain and hunger, all the while maintaining her relentless sense of hope for a brighter tomorrow. Top-notch production from Ryan McAllister and Jessi’s superb vocals and unmistakable Americana spirit help solidify this as one of the best and most hopeful records of the year.” - Joe Cook (KHAC Radio, Tse Bonito, New Mexico)