Rainy Day Assembly
Excerpt from the “Rainy Day Assembly” website (another website that no longer exists)
“This rainy day assembly… it’s going nowhere” So says the lyric of the Tess Wiley song this band takes its name from – but it’s hardly the truth. It’s doubtful the singer/songwriter behind this collective would have it any other way. Regardless of which path they take, rainy day assembly – an unassuming alternapop band that wears its influences on its sleeve and seeks not to reinvent the wheel, but rather to change its colour a bit – is going somewhere.
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to notice that rainy day assembly’s frontgirl (and sometimes only girl) Jillian Tully is not your typical guitar-toting chick. Beyond the bright blue guitar she’s affectionately named Taki (after a character in a video game), the typical loquacious nature, seemingly neverending scarf collection, the requisite nose ring and often gigantic voice that belies her fairly short stature – there is someone who is really passionate about her music. One could say she started ‘this rainy day assembly business’ out of a need to take everything she loves, make it her own, and find some way to share it with as many people as possible.
A trained singer in theatre, jazz, and choral music, Jillian decided in 1997 that the musical theatre world was not for her, and set out to teach herself how to play guitar and get those messy thoughts that ran around inside her head onto paper, and preferably out of her mouth to the ears of coffee shop crowds in her hometown of Red Bank, NJ. Drawing on her musical background (her father and cousin are bassists, and her grandmother’s family toured the Vaudeville circuit with their act Ming, Ling, and Hoo Shee?), her love of performing, and a wide range of influences – not to mention the fact that she had a lot to say – she picked up the guitar in a matter of months, and in less than a year was writing and performing her own songs in small NJ coffeehouses.
This decision has taken her on quite the journey – from a teenager writing confessional, rambly folkish songs to a well-read writer figuring out her spiritual side, to a young woman learning how to be herself and somehow managing to catch the lovely parts and the messy ones in song – from a small town in New Jersey, to the middle of Illinois, to the New York City subway – it has been a long, sometimes frustrating, sometimes stagnant, but always ultimately rewarding journey.
There is no one particular strength in these songs. Rather, the strengths are seen differently by different people. Some are drawn to Jillian’s writing style – her ability to “take complicated sentences and turn them into a song”, or more simply put, her ability to present common thoughts and feelings in a less-than-common way. Others are drawn to the music – the mellow, dreamy chime of her debut EP, ‘Someone Else’s Story’, the electricity of her live performances, or the stripped-down melodic nature of her acoustic recordings. Still others find the strength is her voice – ranging from sweet and ethereal to commanding and soulful, and probably a few shades in between.
Having recently returned from a three-year hiatus, Jillian has returned to her true love – music, with more enthusiasm than ever. She can often be found singing in the subways of New York, testing out new and old songs, and making friends along the way. A new lineup is currently being sought out, but she performs acoustic shows on a regular basis in the meantime. The ‘Someone Else’s Story’ EP will be formally released this Fall, with the music video for “Brother” appearing not too long after. Also, Jillian and the band of rapscallions she’s found will be going into the studio later this year to record her first proper record – something she is five shades of excited about. Newer, wiser, darker, stronger (and definitely louder and with more kick) material is promised this time around.