Aural Elixir
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Aural Elixir

Denver, CO | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | SELF

Denver, CO | SELF
Established on Jan, 2000
Solo Rock Indie




"Bunny Matthews Blurb"

"These artistic auteurs paint musical pictures both delightfully impressionistic and happily expressionistic." - New Orleans Offbeat Magazine

"Aural Elixir- A Tonic For The Heart"

AURAL ELIXIR - a tonic for the heart.

Jesse Maclaine, her piano, and sympathetic musical backing is what makes Aural Elixir a strong offering. "ONE" starts the set and it's a good song. The piano runs, the little twinkling keys. Lyrics that sound great when sung. These aren't typical singer songwriter lyrics but they are affecting poetry and full of imagery - well put together. Her voice dominates " BLURRY " above and beyond her already impressive piano work. A wonderful song, the type of song that's likely to send a chill right up your spine. Over all the music is stripped down, and primitive but within a slightly more accessible song structure."Joint Effort" is a fun song, like the rest of the tunes: repeat playable, certainly. MB 4/2/2007 - Feed The Band

"Partially Domesticated Amazon: Exposed! CD Review"

On their fifth album since the late ’90s, this “rock-folk-jazz fusion” collective, complete with upright bass and Johnny Vidacovich sitting in on drums, puts the spotlight solely on remaining original member Jesse Maclaine and her unusual fusion of strong-yet-spacey female singer-songwriters: Joni Mitchell’s sly and perceptive confessional meets Fiona Apple’s confrontational doomed romantic, with little hints of Tori Amos’ gonzo earth mother and Carole King’s practical warmth. Joni, she swoops and dives and repeats rushed phrases,..Her voice is expressive, and her lyrics can be engaging...“You Don’t Need That Pill” is as direct and tough as its title, while the nicely sardonic “All Friends Here” is just hardheaded enough to form a nice contrast with its upbeat stroll... Working some honest-to-goodness New Orleans piano tradition into “We’re All Millionaires” lets some air into her vision: “I can’t wait ’till I’m a millionaire / I’m gonna show the whole world how to care about each other … I’m gonna give it away / Well, most of it, anyway.”
- See more at: - New Orleans Offbeat Magazine

"PDAE! CD Review"

"Originally formed in New Orleans, the Denver-based Aural Elixir still holds true to the Big Easy’s more sultry jazz traditions." - The Marquee (Colorado)

"Love & Grappling CD Review by Alex Rawls"

"This is music from a big kitchen. Aural Elixir's low-key, jazzy folk recalls the Roches attention to vocal textures, speaking half a line then completing it melodically, then fluttering the next thought. sharing jokes and stories on a Thursday night while making dinner and getting drunk on red wine." - New Orleans Offbeat Magazine

"Aural Sect"

July 01, 2001
Bunny Matthews - Offbeat Music Magazine

When musicians record music, their hope is that listeners will be awed by their compositions’ melodies and riffs, blown away by the lead guitarist’s deconstruction of Django Reinhardt, left speechless by the surreptitious sampling of the Soft Machine, enraptured by the contrapuntal references to Timi Yuro. And sometimes, the best that musicians can expect is that folks will play their CDs while waxing the floors and obliterating mildew in the shower stall.

Take the case of Aural Elixir (led by vocalist/songwriter/keyboardist/trumpeter Jesse Holt) and its Love & Grappling album, recorded at RCA Studio B in Nashville, the same place where Elvis Presley once cut “Blue Christmas.” “I haven’t heard anyone say anything bad about our CD,” explains Ms. Holt. “Everyone seems to like it. The biggest response I get is that the CD is good music for cleaning your house.”

The members of Aural Elixir are from everywhere but here: Jesse Maclaine, originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, arrived in New Orleans in 1995, accompanied by Aural bassist Jim Ankar, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Vocalist/guitarist/clarinetist Lynn Drury is from Picayune, Mississippi, and drummer Dylan “Sticks” Hicks is a Chicagoan who came to New Orleans to pursue a degree in Jazz Studies at UNO, under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis.

Music attracted Jesse to New Orleans although not necessarily the music of say, Professor Longhair or “Tuts” Washington: “The first time I came to New Orleans, in ’93, to see Smashing Pumpkins at the State Palace Theatre, I was really into Smashing Pumpkins but when I got here and saw the city, it totally diminished the concert for me because New Orleans was amazing! Growing up in Florida, I had never heard of Mardi Gras. There’s nowhere like New Orleans. I like walking around, just looking at all the old things.

“I don’t think I would write as many songs if I lived anywhere else. New Orleans has the constant stimulation of art and music and culture. It makes me want to write.

“I write songs all the time. I get snippets of ideas while I’m walking through the French Quarter or driving. I do most of my writing while I’m actually sitting at a piano in my house or at someone else’s house. On the song “Wastin’ My Wantin’,” I had this old car—a turbo-diesel Volvo—and this guy ran a stop sign and wrecked my car. I was really attached to the car. The song is a poem I wrote about the car and then I put it to music.”

Precipitation has proved to be another inspirational force: “When I wrote ‘Muse Me,’ it was raining. For some reason, I usually write better in the rain. I had the chord progression in my mind and then I started free-writing—it was just there. It was weird—it’s not often you can just free-write and half an hour later, you’ve got three verses of a song. Sweet! It’s like I was asking for the muse to come because I wanted to write a song. I was sitting in the rain, under a patio, and I was writing this poem, asking the muse for a song. After I was done writing the poem, I thought ‘Wait—my request is a song!’ It was kind of magical.”

About the band’s name, blame it on the original Mother of Invention: “Frank Zappa is one of my ultimate heroes and he made this movie called 200 Motels. There’s a running joke in it about elixirs—how you get this fabulous elixir, good for everything, put it on your car, on your toothbrush, clean your clothes with it. I had that idea and I knew I wanted it to be some type of elixir. I like the concept of having an elixir, which is healing and usually liquid, combined with the word aural, which means for your ears.”

Elixirs, of a Turkish variety, dominate Jesse’s daylight hours. She works as a waitress at the Midnight Express, owned by Fatma and Suleyman Aydin, two of Aural Elixir’s biggest fans and the providers of Turkish treats for the band’s recent CD Release Party at Tipitina’s (where the band will return on July 11). - New Orleans Offbeat Magazine


2000 Love & Grappling
2003 Anomaly, New Orleans Style
2006 Bedspread Jumpsuit
2009 Lick It & Like It (Live)
2011 Special Edition, Live Solo Collection (Limited Release)
2013 Partially Domesticated Amazon: Exposed!
2014 Bootleg Extravaganza



Aural Elixir is an innovative rock/jazz/folk/pop band (and solo artist) created by singer-pianist-composer Jesse Maclaine in the late 90's in New Orleans, now based in Denver, Colorado. Jesse Maclaine shares her musical gifts hoping to help people feel better and create lasting positive change in the world; "Music makes everything better!" is the central theme and motivation for Aural Elixir. Renown for diverse, beautiful, and distinctive music, Aural Elixir performs over 100 concerts a year, traversing musical genres, sharing stories, and touching hearts everywhere she goes. Aural Elixir delivers versatile, soulful music that is both accessible and defies categorization. 

In 2018, Aural Elixir opened for Melissa Etheridge on 4/20 at Denver's International Church of Cannabis! Never one to shy away from musical adventures, Jesse's regional and national tours performing Aural Elixir music have led her to work with Grammy award winning engineers like David Glasser at Airshow Boulder, and share stages with truly remarkable musicians like Johnny Vidacovich, Alex McMurray, Lynn Drury, Carlo Nuccio, Margie Perez, Arthur Lee Land, Erik Yates, Brian McRae, Jesse Garland, Ryan Elwood, and many more. Aural Elixir music is popular on radio stations across the country (like our fav WWOZ New Orleans!) as well as on internet radio and streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and iHeart Radio. Last year Ms. Maclaine was commissioned to score a musical for a popular Colorado based production company, and this year she has officially completed that project... her first musical! Also in 2017, Jesse produced and released the 6th Aural Elixir CD, a live EP entitled "Better" and she is touring nationally and internationally sharing her new music while also working on a series of singles to be released in 2018 and beyond. And if that's not enough, this year Jesse has begun composing her first symphonic piece, due for release next year, "St. Gertrude's Symphony for Cats." 

New Orleans' Offbeat magazine describes Aural Elixir's unique sound as "... Joni Mitchell’s sly and perceptive confessional meets Fiona Apple’s confrontational doomed romantic, with little hints of Tori Amos’ gonzo earth mother and Carole King’s practical warmth."  

 At just 21 years old, shortly after she moved to New Orleans, entrepreneuse and visionary bandleader Jesse Maclaine dreamed of an adventurous, refined yet light hearted multi-genre musical group balancing both complex arrangements and improvisation, a vehicle for her to express her panoply of musical interests, artistic fancies, social commentary, real or imagined experiences, so she founded Aural Elixir. While the Crescent City remains an indelible influence, she has been based in Colorado for over a decade. 

Aural Elixir music is frequently featured on WWOZ 90.7, New Orleans, KRFC Fort Collins Colorado, CU Boulder's Radio 1190, Denver's 99.5 The Mountain, WHIV NOLA, Spotify, I Heart Radio, and many internet radio shows, podcast, and playlists such as The Best Radio You've Never Heard Podcast & Women Of Substance Radio! Aural Elixir's performances are regularly hailed by press as one of the top "things to do." (New Orleans Offbeat, NOLA Defender, Longmont Compass & Boulder's Daily Camera)

Past performances include numerous music halls, listening rooms, private parties, bars, coffee shops, restaurants and festivals such as All Folks Fest, Crestone Summer Music Festival, Colorado VegFest, New Orleans' Tipitina's, The Howlin' Wolf, House of Blues, Blue Nile, 711 Bourbon Street, Fort Collins' Lincoln Center, The Mercury Cafe Denver, Denver's Herman's Hideaway, Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, Quixote's True Blue, Nederland's Pioneer Inn, Artichoke Bar Wichita, Oklahoma City's Classic Rock Cafe, Tulsa's Gypsy Coffeehouse, White Rock Coffee Dallas, Cafe Istanbul NOLA, Santa Fe's Cowgirl Hall Of Fame and many more venues across the continental U.S. Aural Elixir has performed for such luminaries as Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, the Ambassador of Turkey, and Louisiana Jukebox - the bands' premier TV performance! 

Jesse Maclaine has dedicated her life to being a musical pioneer with Aural Elixir - successfully composing, performing, recording, and producing music which defies categories and uniquely shines as a refreshing alternative to the derivative, over-produced music that dominates our modern world. Classical training, jazz studies, pop sensibilities, and decades of experience as a professional entertainer inform Jesse Maclaine's compositions and performances, empowering her to craft each concert into a spectacular special event. 

Band Members