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Daumen's vision: 'Finding Flowers'

For years, Jessy Daumen has been adding fiddle, mandolin and harmonies to the recordings and performances of an array of Orlando acts, ranging from whimsical children's shows to local listening rooms to a Citrus Bowl stage at last year's Orlando Calling music festival.

Now, at long last, Daumen is stepping into the spotlight with her own solo debut album, "Finding Flowers," which will be celebrated at a CD release show Sunday at Ceviches Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Orlando. The nine-song studio release, recorded at Orlando's Richter Records, is an impressive collision of musical styles that brushes against bluegrass, classical, rock, funk and jazz.

It's far-out and fabulous, a swirling sonic trip. If the Beatles had been influenced by bluegrass titans Flatt & Scruggs instead of the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" might have sounded something like this.

Co-produced by Daumen and veteran Orlando musician Davey Schweizer, the tracks feature an A-list of homegrown performers including multi-instrumentalist Anthony Cole (Mofro), Matt Lapham (Shak Nasti) and singer-songwriter Terri Binion.

"I've been so blessed to have so many awesome musicians and people around me," Daumen says. "I've always wanted to do my own thing and finally, last year, I said, 'I'm just gonna do it.'"

Considering the seamless way the expansive songs fold into each other, it's hard to believe that Daumen arrived at the studio with virtually none of the material written.

"I came with a couple of chords and a song idea," she says. "At that point, I was doing a lot of soul searching and getting up super-early in the mornings, trying to read self-help books. I was really thinking about the next step with my career and personal life and everything. I had a head full of thoughts."

The album's opening song, a snippet of an old-time fiddle rendition of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," was one of several interludes culled from bluegrass recordings that Daumen made as a 10-year-old in North Carolina. As an introduction to "Finding Flowers," the hymn dissolves into an echo-laden conclusion that sounds like the invitation to a flashback or a dream.

In reality, Daumen, 30, describes the songs that follow as a spiritual search. One of the titles, "Reluctant Messiah," is based on a book by "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" author Richard Bach:

"The record really is kind of about finding yourself and where you belong," she says. "It's about searching for the savior inside yourself. You shouldn't sit around and wait for somebody to come save you, because you can make your own miracles happen."

Daumen hopes that the music will conjure images among listeners, a notion that inspired the concept for Sunday's CD release show, a production that will incorporate art, dance and dramatic elements. She will be joined by a long list of her creative friends, ranging from Orlando actor Christian Kelty, choreographer Sunny Raskin, singer-songwriter Joseph Martens (also Daumen's fiancee) and members of the Orlando Russian Ballet.

"I've played a million shows, but I haven't played a whole show of my original music ever," she says. "That is a big deal for me. This is what I see when I make the music and now I just get to share it."

This time, all of Daumen's friends will be helping her shine in the spotlight.

jcabbott@tribune.com or 407-420-6213

Jessy Daumen

What: CD release show for "Finding Flowers"

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Ceviches Tapas Bar & Restaurant, 125 W. Church St., Orlando

Cost: Free

Call: 321-281-8140

Online: jessicadaumen.com

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