The band's namesake is its multi-talented violinist, lead vocalist, and songwriter, Jillian Rae. Her creative and dynamic style of violin playing along with her lifelong experience as a performer, lend her an assured stage presence. She has an innate ability to create hook-laden tunes affirming the positives of life in the face of struggle and disappointment. With the overarching joy she takes in all things musical, it was inevitable that Jillian should form her own band... and not too surprising that it should be in her own name. The only surprise is that we've had to wait this long!
Like many of Minnesota's finest musicians, Jillian Rae grew up in the north, on the Iron Range - an environment as open to country, folk (and yes, polka) as it is to pop, rock and blues. Growing up in a music-loving household, Jillian was hooked early when she began taking violin lessons at age 7. From there, she began to sing, dance, perform, and has been working hard at perfecting her art ever since.
The ultimate reward for her years of musical passion and pursuit, is the ability to give back. After years of study, performing and teaching, Jillian opened a music school, The Music Lab, in 2011 with her pal and fellow musician, Josie Just. Located in Minneapolis' Nokomis neighborhood, The Music Lab is Jillian's vehicle for passing on all she has learned - actively teaching voice, violin and viola to youth and adults, with (of course) an emphasis on performance. In 2013, additional space was acquired and The Movement Lab was added, in partnership with Stepheni Hubert - expanding the school's offerings to include dance and fitness courses for all ages.
Jillian has been a heavy hitter in the Minnesota music scene for years, playing with as many musicians as humanly possible. In the past, she had been known to lend her fiddle chops in the Duluth-based band Two Many Banjos, and also spent some time fronting the local pop country staple, The Killer Hayseeds. Currently, when she isn't performing with her own band, you can still catch her playing fiddle and singing with a number of bands around town: Corpse Reviver (Early American Folk, Bluegrass), Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings (Folk Revisionist), Brian Just Band ('60's California Pop), and The Blackberry Brandy Boys (Cosmic Country).