Jess Pillmore

Jess Pillmore

BandPopAdult Contemporary

"Her crypto-poetic delivery plays like the NYC-cool inner dialogues of Suzanne Vega & Jim Carroll crossed with the unpredictable shifts of middle-period PJ Harvey... & even at this early stage in her career, Pillmore is easily more than the sum of those parts." Mod Folk Rock w/Americana Roots


"I seem to crave every possible means of communication. I feel we're all expressing the same fundamentals but the true challenge is finding out which phrasing works at any given time. My goal is to be artistically multi-lingual," states int'l touring performing artist, Jess Pillmore.

Jess's third cd "Reveal" does just that by pairing music industry hard hitters Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, David Bowie) and Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell), and emerging artists Craig Barnette (Donavon Frankenreiter, Mofro) and Dan Phelps (Tori Amos) with a songwriter who has been called "striking and daring, lyrically and literally" (KGPR 89.9 FM). Jess's theatrical storytelling, musical complexities and dancer driven rhythms lets you in on a personal journey so vivid you blend her past with your own. Breaking personal and musical boundaries, “Reveal is a distinctive record made all the more interesting by its biting observations.” (Nashville Scene)

Insightful and intelligent lyrics “with rapid fire phrasing... not commonplace in the least” ( Strong driving melodies, “funky rhythms... complex subtle instrumentation” ( A power house voice that “rip up any stage” (Splendid e-zine) with “dark chords, throaty vocals and the kind of lyrics that come from lots of philosophical pondering and very little reality-TV watching.” (Mountain Xpress)


~ Critics Pick for Nashville Scene '05
~ Sold over 1,800 cds
~ Nationally touring songwriter over 7 years
~ Internationally touring teaching artists over 10 years
~ Nat’l airplay over 400 Public stations
~ "Reveal" Top 40 albums played WVIA~ Heavy rotation & Top 20 on WNCW
~ Featured Artist "Out Siruis"
~ Featured Artist - “Women on Air” Nat'l syndicated
~ Notable Venues - Cutting Room (NYC), C-Note (NYC), The Metro (Chicago), The Grey Eagle (Asheville, NC), JackRabbits (Jacksonville, FL), Cafe Eleven (St. Augustine, FL), Smithe's Old Bar (Atlanta), Cat's Cradle (Chapel Hill, NC)
~ Voted "Best Folk Rock Diva" The Independent ’03
~ "Slightly Skewed" release Critics Choice Time Out NY
~ Featured Album - '02
~ Performing Indiegrrl member
~ “I Feel It...” @
#16 Best Programming Folk/Rock
#32 ranking Pop/Rock
~ Co-Owner of Road Worm Music label
~ Featured Artist - Women on
~ Future Star - Radio Crystal Blue
~ Underground Folk Series Artist- Greenville, SC
~ Cat’s Cradle Songwriter’s Finalist '03
~ Carrboro Music Festival Performer
~ Off-Broadway Choreographer (‘98-99)
~ Teaching Artist reaching 3,500+ students/year
~ 1999 National Best Female Actor/Combatant
~ 2000 Founder’s Award in Unarmed  (SAFD)
~ “City Girl!” Best Musical - Minneapolis Fringe Festival - director/choreographer

“A cross between the best of '60s folk and '80s punk rock” (Folio Weekly), Jess’ music dances on the line between Joni Mitchell and Annie Lennox with the sassy presence of Cyndi Lauper. “There is a playfulness that tugs at the edge of her voice that projects her expression musically and facially”. ( It makes the connection and leaves with you, to turn in your head days after you have seen her. Pillmore’s sound is suspenseful and foreshadowing, keeping you on the edge of your seat.” (Encore)

Reveal's release is backed by a strong musical team: nationally distributed by Nail Distribution, a strong CMJ college radio campaign with Planetary Group and national publicity by Coin Publicity.

Jess has been touring the East & West Coast for over 8 years promoting her indie releases. Recently, Jess was picked to perform at the Rockrgrl conference in Seattle.

"My goal is to be artistically multi-lingual but in true childlike rebellion, I avoided the first language I was raised with... music.” - Jess Pillmore

Jess comes from a pair of highly artistic and independent thinking parents. Her mother, Jo, is a skilled writer, who taught that financial independence equals artistic independence. Jess says, “Mama’s focus on the horizon gave me the strength to dream large and see the big picture.” Her father, Bill, was a founding member of the ‘70’s Capricorn Records’ folk-rock band, Cowboy. “Dad plays every instrument you throw at him. I started learning to play as a child, but with a musician that good in the house, I found it hard to fight my nature to move. I had to dance along,” Jess explains.

So dance became her focus as she learned to communicate through movement and body language. Jess’s choreography caught the eye of the theatre community, where she learned how to add dialogue to the dance. With these two languages, she began directing and choreographing professionally across the country, from Fringe festivals to Off Broadway.

But at a young age, Jess found her self in a personal drama that put her in the chaos of change. “Throughout the confusion, all I co


Point of Reference

Written By: Jess Pillmore

©2005 Jess Pillmore/Roadworm Music (ASCAP)

I tried to shorten my life living as fast as I could. I was always the life of the party, folklore of the neighborhood. Oh, the stories they tell, they tell, and you thought you knew me well.

I’d come home to find my dad out on the lawn 3 o’clock in the morning all senses gone. And I was the “lucky one”, I got to see him hit rock bottom.

CHORUS - Just once try to imagine. Look where I came from, see where I stand. You get lost in “my fault”'s and “I wish you wouldn’t”'s. For the sake of clarity, please, use this point of reference.

I learned too early that respect was going to be hard won. There he was wrapped around another woman, he said, “Do you want to hit me, son?” That drew a concrete line, between the lies he lives and all of mine.

I moved out of his house before I could even drive. There I was furnishing my apartment, dragging it all by the roadside. You could say he taught me how to survive, and mask the pain by getting high.

CHORUS - Just once try to imagine. Look where I came from, see where I stand. You get lost in my silence and isolation. For the sake of clarity, please, use this point of reference.

BRIDGE - All your good intentions are wasted. You can’t wipe clean my past. I was pulled taut by that tension. My well worn hide’s now proven to last. You can’t pull me out of that danger. You can’t kiss and mend every bruise. I didn’t find you to replace any savior. You’ll have to love me used.

Every brother has inherited dad’s adultery. I think that’s why I’m constantly moving so his genes never catch up to me. Yet for advice I’m the one they call. Their illusion of me is so unbelievable.

“I’m a flake. I disappear. Maybe a postcard once a year”. So many sarcastic punch lines are ringing in my ears. If they want to see me that way, that’s fine. They have their truths and I have mine.

CHORUS - Just once try to imagine. Look where I came from, see where I stand. You get lost in my jokes and family ribbings. For the sake of clarity, please, use this point of reference.


Written By: Jess Pillmore

®&© 2003 Roadworm Music (ASCAP)

Cajun, coffee, tabouli or ziti/look on that menu and see what you want
Don’t stop stop at groceries, laundry, a movie or a masseuse
When every need and desire is satisfied by Jesus.

It’s not bad really/you save time and drop a tip
And there’s an extra buck in his hand if he delivers it

The world’s at your finger tips/if your tips are on the phone
Bored with your surroundings? then just order a fresh look for your home
Martha’s through the mail and that’s a good thing
And there’s no secret about what Victoria’s sending

It’s not bad really/you save time and drop a tip
And there’s an extra buck in his hand if he delivers it

You came to this city where there’s nothing you can’t do
But what it boils down to is what we’ll do for you
You want to see the world from your living room
That’s what this city’s really about
Hell, it’ll come to your door, kid! Are you joking about take-out when...

Your kitchen drawer’s brimming with menus, not recipes
You’re calling for convenience/for command
Over something/over someone/dial and demand service now!

Sex? No problem, your phone or mine?
Or would you like me delivered with a girlfriend this time?
It’s limitless for the American green/just press one, just press one and you’ll see what I mean

Have all whims delivered to you here/just need a phone some dough and a catalogue near
And it’s not bad, really/no, it’s not bad
It’s not bad really/you save time and drop a tip
And there’s an extra buck in her hand if she delivers it

The Real Me

Written By: Jess Pillmore

®&© 2003 Roadworm Music (ASCAP)

I use the shower as a confessional/As the steam rises I unleash it all
Apologies bounce off the tile/Add another screw up to the file
If you’re confused just wait awhile

‘Cause that’s the real me/That’s the real me
Not the gal that everybody wants to see/that doesn’t change the real me

Is that the phone again or is that the radio?/Sure it’s a feeble excuse but no one will know
I’ve found a place to live beneath the rug/I’ve camouflaged into the couch
Sure I’m not like this out of the house

That doesn’t change the real me/’cause that’s the real me
Not the gal that everybody wants to see/that doesn’t change the real me

I had a hard time writing this song, you know,
one week I’m wrecked the next nothing’s wrong
I guess that’s why I hate personality tests
The answer’s never quite no it’s never quite yes
Never quite yes

I may appear to be a social virtuoso
Just because I can laugh, I can listen, I can be your average Joe
But I’m a stuttering child on the inside/I’m sure you’re mocking me when I walk by
And if you can’t handle that then just believe the lie

That doesn’t change the real me/yes, the real me...

Pound for Pound

Written By: Jess Pillmore

©2001 Jess Pillmore/Roadworm Music (ASCAP)
It wafts out of fad mags “Insecurity”, must be a new scent by Klein. Beauty drips down page by page by the pound. Self help tips trip me up and tie my down to an image unachievable. It’s unbelievable what they force feed us all. Pound for pound this dollar’s sound. Pound for pound... hottest market in town. Come on down. Little, little girl, check out line dream, unable to snap out of the glitter-glam grand slam. She’s starting so young before dinner’s even begun she’s pushing her plate out of the gate. I’m calling out to the conscience of the Cosmo queens, “Undo the spell of the check out line dream!” chorus Come on down. They tell you, “It’s your outer beauty that pushes love’s door open wide.” That’s what they’re banking on, feeding your frightened vain side. “Yes, that’s what we’re banking on. Now, take a bite and pass it on down the line!” Under a conveyor belt hum, some little kid’s screeching for gum, someone demands doubling up on their bags. Under the glossy pics and funky fonts a mantra slips. I can hear it now, “Who cares if a majority’s spurned when there’s bucks, big bucks to be earned?” chorus And we keep counting pound for pound. We keep counting... Let your little girl cut them up and plaster them on her wall. Let your little boy gawk and stare. Show him what makes a woman his perfect doll.

Learn To Let Go

Written By: Jess Pillmore

©2004 Jess Pillmore/Roadworm Music (ASCAP)
Late last night I could have sworn you were all of my ex’s lying next to me. It was my moment to give back the pain I had resurrected joyously. Could I be that spiteful? Could I bear the weight of rage wholly reborn for a fictional victory, seeing all of you drowning in a world of scorn? Could I? Could I hold your head under water? It wouldn’t be tough. Turn my back and ignore you just enough? One hand down while one hand waved at my next naive conquest that day. I’ve been biting my tongue for years and the blood no longer bothers me. Secretly holding my joy prisoner but I’d rather call it “watching TV”. Locked in a cage of my own creation lined with haunting imagery. It’s not my job to convince you, the illusions are real enough for me. Could I? Could I hold my head under water? It wouldn’t be tough. Turn my back and ignore my joy just enough. One hand down while one hand waved at my next perfect distraction that day. But I’ve got to learn to let go. Save myself. Free my soul. I’ve got to learn to let go, but sometimes the rage has such a hold over me... I can hardly be. Multitasking masters suppressing every hope while wishing them to be set free. Running their race backwards complaining over the only view they let themselves see. Illness and anger is all around us but we’re taught early to acknowledge and then ignore. We wonder why history repeats itself when we’re obsessed with staring at the floor. We can hold our lives under water. It’s not that tough. Turn our backs and ignore our purpose just enough. One hand down while one hand waves, framing the illusion of life lived another day. But I’ve got to learn to let go. Save myself. Free my soul. I’ve got to learn to let go, but sometimes the world has such a hold over me I can hardly be... I’ve got to learn to let go.


Singer/Songwriter Releases:
Reveal (2005)
Slightly Skewed (2002)
PROMO (2001)

As A Producer:
Speak True (2005) - Ron Morris

Featured Vocalist:
Look In/Look Out (2005) - Bill Pillmore
Ghosts of Eden (2004) - Mark Williams
Speak True (2004) - Ron Morris

Compliations -
Love & Loathing (Lujo 2006)
Various Artists (Lujo 2005)

Airplay -
Jess has received college and non-commercial radio play nationwide. Reveal was released to rave reviews with a national radio campaign.

Jess is streamed and has clips/downloads on multiple internet sites.

Set List

Jess' sets range anywhere from 1/2 hour to 3 hour sets depending on the venue. Get her and the band going and the end is blissfully nowhere in sight. A typical set list consists entirely of originals, spoken-word works and a few skewed covers.

Sample of tunes rotated regularly:
The Real Me
Desperate Dreams
Don't Show Me
Pound for Pound
Bridges to Nowhere
So Unlike Me
Just Joking
This Way
Point of Reference
Petty Crimes
Vast Horizon
Open My Mouth
When Your World Changed
Little Girl