I wrote this profile of a popular local artist several years ago. If you haven’t sat down and listened to Jori Costello yet, maybe it’s time you did. If you want more recent information on Jori, including her recent gigs, and to read her blog, go to:
The Jori Costello Sound
Area Artist Releases New CD
"I'm counting some days
Maybe one day, make it Tuesday
I'm puttin' off deadlines
Ignorin' the headlines
Hold society at bay
Give in to the pressure
Brought on by stressin'
And the things I've left undone
bet I'm not the only one . . ."
"Easier Said Than Done"
- Jori Costello
Although Jori Costello has been compared to Joni Mitchell, one has no doubt that in the near future, such comparisons will be forgotten, as the "Jori Costello Sound" takes solid hold in the region. Her strong voice takes command of her audience and refuses to let go; her jazzy tones mingling
with an equally strong blues background never fails to impress those listening.
December marks the debut of Costello's first CD, entitled Homegrown. This is a collection of original pieces, and the works of others, such as Amanda Broom, and Amanda Grimes.
Costello discovered her love of music while growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, singing in church. Though it might be difficult for those who appreciate her to imagine, the young Jori also enjoyed singing the ballads of Barbra Streisand, who she cites as one of her musical influences.
Later, while living in Kansas City, she was one of the founding members of the trio Harmony, a group which appeared in concerts and live performances on the radio, and was interviewed on the radio program Woman Song (based in Kansas City). Her musical odyssey led Costello to Lawrence, Kansas, where she played in a number of restaurants, coffeehouses and bars. She especially likes the relaxed atmosphere to be found in so many coffee shops. During her stay in Lawrence, she appeared on Lawnchair Review and Wild Women Don't get the Blues, two Lawrence-based radio shows. Costello's music is the deeply personal kind, with themes touching upon love and meaning of what it means to be human. Her favorite song on her CD is "The Way You Move," a song about the importance of love and lust.
The CD was recorded at Kelly Mulhollan's Termite Tracs studios. Mulhollan, best known as a member of the popular group Still on the Hill, also has added his musical influence to the collection, recording his parts after she had left the studio.
She says that his input "added a whole new dimension to the CD." In addition to Mulhollan's efforts, Donna Henschell (also of Still on the Hill) plays fiddle on one track, "Mountain Song/Kentucky Woman."
In addition to the influences of Joni Mitchell and Barbra Streisand, Costello is strongly moved by the music of the Indigo Girls and Tracey Chapman. She has respect for women whose voices are well-trained, women like Annie Lennox, and she has a particular fondness for Carole King's "So
Costello pens most of her own material, such as the popular "The Way You Move," "Past the Pain," and "Freedom Connection." Writing music takes several forms for her. At times, a tune will simply play around in her head, while at other times, verses may take shape, even without a tune to lay claim to them. Sometimes, she uses a writing process she describes as "journaling." Suddenly, one day what she has written leaps to grab her attention.
In 2001, Costello appeared at the Eureka Folk Festival, and Fayetteville's Springfest. In the past, she has appeared at the 1997 and 1998 Women's Festival and Conference, held at the University of Arkansas, and in the summer of 1997, sang during the open mike presentation at the prestigious
Michigan Women's Festival. Costello has appeared on Fayetteville's Community Access Television, which still plays some of her music videos.
Jori Costello is living proof that music is an integral part of each of us. Through the magic of her tunes and lyrics, she hopes to inspire healing, action, and serious reflection about our lives and the choices we make every day. Those who seek out Costello's strong voice and powerful words
will have an experience they are not likely to soon forget.
"Now you see the powers within you
You just have to give it a chance
Your strength and your wisdom
will carry you through it
Freedom from pain here at last . . ."
"Past the Pain" - - Jori Costello
Ozark Gazette - December 10, 2001