Becca Stevens to charm jazz fans this Thursday at The Mill

Becca Stevens heads to The Mill
The Becca Stevens Band (pictured) is one savvy group of musicians. — photo courtesy of Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens w/ The Feralings

The Mill – Thursday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m.

Sure, it’s February and we’ve got at least six more weeks of winter, but Iowa City might be getting goosebumps from something other than the frigid cold this week. See, jazz musician Becca Stevens will be visiting The Mill this Thursday, and though she plays warm, sweet, and soulful songs, she’s got a voice that will give you chills.

Stevens has been making music, quite literally, for her entire life. Raised in a deeply musical household, she began her career when she was just two years old, singing for The Tune Mammals, a family band that played folk songs aimed at children. Her father, a composer of choral music, led the group. When Becca was 10, she performed in a yearlong Broadway touring production of The Secret Garden, with her classically-trained, opera-singing mother. If that weren’t an impressive enough of a resume, Stevens decided to pursue music when she went to college, enrolling in the New School where she earner her BFA in jazz singing and composition.

There, she met the friends and collaborators who would become the Becca Stevens Band. That level of musical training and expertise is readily apparent on her records, especially her latest album Weightless, on which the band approaches every song with a spirit of improvisation and experimentation. Indeed, Stevens says in an interview with The Boston Globe, “…they expressed the desire not to have any sheet music, so I never have to write anything out. They have all the music inside of them.”

Comparisons to Kate McGarry and Norah Jones abound, and it’s a fair parallel — Stevens has the same old soul vibe and sweet, lilting voice. But Stevens brings an indie rock swagger that’s wonderfully magnetic. Her choices in cover songs highlight that attitude, with beautiful, spritely covers of Animal Collective’s “My Girls” and The Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.”

The show, co-sponsored by The Englert Theater but hosted at The Mill, begins at 8 p.m. and costs $15. The Feralings are set to open.

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