Ahead of her new album ‘What Do Whales Dream About at Night?’, NYC-based song-savvy storyteller Jessie Kilguss presents the emotive title track with a video produced and directed by Deborah Magocsi.

This long-player comes four years after her album ‘The Fastness’, and already the album is greatly anticipated following the release of advance singles ‘Sleepwalking Heart’ and ‘Great White Shark’.

“This song was inspired by the poem ‘Headphones’by Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan. Zhadan’s poem takes place during the previous war in Ukraine. The protagonist is a poet, who escapes the harsh realities of the war happening around him by putting on his headphones and tuning out the world. There’s a line “think of whales in the ocean at night” that I found incredibly evocative. I wrote all the lyrics in one go after reading that line,” says Jessie Kilguss.

“I wrote this song pre-pandemic to perform in a show with the Bushwick Book Club, a performance series where songwriters read the same book, write a song about it and perform it at a public show. This show was at the Ukrainian Museum in New York and Serhiy Zhadan was a special guest. It was an honor to meet him and perform this song for him. I follow him on Instagram. He’s in Ukraine doing very brave work on the front lines. He’s fundraising for his relief efforts. You can follow him (and support him) on Instagram at @serhy_zhadan”.

Working with the dream team of drummer Brian Griffin (Patti Smith, Brandi Carlisle, Lana Del Rey), bass guitarist Whynot Jansveld (The Wallflowers, Butch Walker, Sara Bareilles), and LA-based award-winning composer and producer Naren Rauch on guitar, they are joined by Nathan Schram (Bjork, David Crosby, David Byrne, The Attacca Quartet), with whom Kilguss runs the non-profit organization Musicambia.

Co-produced by Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Helium) along with Kilguss and her band members (Brian Griffin, Naren Rauch, Whynot Jansveld), Lasus engineered the recordings, which were mixed and mastered by Charlie Nieland (Debbie Harry, Rufus Wainwright, Blondie).

Kilguss is a former actress, whose acting highlights include the film adaptation of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, starring Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder, and the UK production of ‘As You Like It’, directed by Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall.

She made the switch to songwriting after working with one of her musical heros Marianne Faithfull in the London and Sydney productions of ‘The Black Rider’, a musical written by Tom Waits and William Burroughs, which was directed by Robert Wilson and also featured Mary Margaret O’Hara.

In addition to writing and performing her own music, Kilguss also sings with Gramercy Arms, Jim Andralis and the Syntonics and Benjamin Cartel, having previously performed at the Sundance Film Festival and with Freddie Stevenson, supporting The Waterboys during their European tour.

As of September 16, the title track ‘What do Whales Dream About at Night?’ will be available across digital platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. The full album will be released on September 23. That same evening, Kilguss celebrates her album with a release show at Rockwood Music Hall in New York.

All songs written by Jessie Kilguss
Jessie Kilguss – vocals and harmonium
Brian Griffin- drums, percussion, keys & backing vocals
Whynot Jansveld – bass, keys & backing vocals
Naren Rauch – guitar, piano & backing vocals
Nathan Schram – strings
Recorded at Studio Red in North Hollywood in April 2021
Produced by Brian Griffin, Whynot Jansveld, Naren Rauch, Jessie Kilguss & Adam Lasus.
Engineered by Adam Lasus at Studio Red in North Hollywood
Mixed & mastered by Charlie Nieland
Artist photography by Shervin Lainez