Jesse Garland

It must be tough to be a singer related to Judy Garland, much less one who has the same last name and initials. But Jesse Garland, who claims as much on her bio, sounds more Texas than Hollywood, and her slow, deliberate pacing demands soft lighting, not bright lights. On her debut EP, Without Change, Garland is focused inward, opening a bottle of wine with which to serenade listeners about subjects ranging from her divorce ("much-needed") to the death of a close friend. The gentle folk of these five tracks is strained through the conservative instrumentation of a new backing band. And while, on an album with a song titled "Bleeding Heart," the lyrics occasionally verge on cheesy ("Passion died/We don't know why we fight"), Garland's alternately gentle and brazen vocals never venture far from earnestness. The woman means what she croons.

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