MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Darren Jessee’s “Anything You Need”

The War On Drugs. Sharon Van Etten. Hiss Golden Messenger. Josh Rouse. Ben Folds. Kinda sounds like what you see when you’re flipping through a typical issue of MAGNET. What those artists also have in common is that each is an entry on the resume of one Darren Jessee, a North Carolina-based multi-instrumentalist/songwriter. Probably best known as the drummer for Ben Folds Five (he co-wrote mega hit “Brick”), Jessee worked with the others either on record or on the road. Since 2005, he’s put out a string of records under the Hotel Lights moniker, and he’s set to make his solo debut August 24 with The Jane, Room 217 (Bar/None).

The album is a quiet affair, mostly Jessee on his own, working on a six-track recorder in his home. The desire was to keep The Jane, Room 217 intimate, not relying on a band and proving he had “the courage to be a solo troubadour,” he says. What started as demos ended up being the final album, following some contributions from longtime collaborator Alan Weatherhead and arranger/composer Trey Pollard (Foxygen, Waterboys).

“I was drumming in touring bands, and the idea of working on a quiet album was exciting to me,” says Jessee. “I’ve always loved sparse songwriter records, and it’s also where I feel my voice. Trey added strings. We bonded over our love of Tom Waits’ Foreign Affairs. I only told him to break hearts. Al Weatherhead mixed it.”

Opener “Anything You Need” is one of The Jane, Room 217‘s standouts, a quiet acoustic-guitar/piano number that’s bathed in breathtaking strings by song’s end. We’re proud to premiere “Anything You Need” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out below.