Here's what people are saying about Aorta Borealis:
"Due to the fate of his daughter, he experienced confusing feelings such as powerlessness, anger, love, incomprehension, sadness, but also hope. Touching, the power of love. A musical plea for being different."
Roebi - Tracks Magazine - (Switzerland) album review
"This album still sticks with me. One of my top albums of the year."
Andy Ellis - Melodic Noise Media (Includes album review)
"Aorta Borealis is a beautiful album from top to bottom. The story it tells is incredibly emotional, and ultimately uplifting. At the same time, the music itself is excellent. At times quiet and reflective, and at others rocking and fun. Apparently, it appeals musically to both adults and younger listeners, as it's currently the most requested album for my teenager's commute to school."
Phil Vecchio - pop.vox.music (includes interview and acoustic performance from Jesse)
"Aorta Borealis Pulls At Your Heartstrings. Relax and Let This Album Take You On A Journey From Sadness To Hope To Where Happiness Prevails. Bringing Awareness To Down Syndrome In Such A Touching Way."
Cher Dial - KFAI Radio (Interview with Jesse and family on the Cher Dial Show)
"Hearing Jesse sing live in the Parkway, the album feels like a movie. His voice fluctuates from falsetto to deep and rich. Even from the back row you can feel the resonating cello and the drum beating like a heart and getting stronger and stronger."
Ann Treacy - Mostly Minnesota Music (Album Release Live Show Review)
“The first song on the album, what I noticed is that when it comes to the sonics, the production, I can really feel you getting this call, and then you’re kind of in this haze of like nothing else exists."
Andy Ellis - Melodic Noise Media (Includes written interview with Jesse)
“Jesse has a real knack for doing very complicated things, but doing them in such the right way, that you don't really notice how complex they are.”
Keith Nystrom on MPR's Art Hounds
"What an inspirational story! Can't get enough of it. The whole family is just wonderful... little Alyssa is amazing."
Tim Blotz and Bisi Onile-Era - Fox9 TV News Anchors (Includes TV Interview with Jesse 4.6.22)
"The beauty of the Northern Lights can’t be seen unless there’s a backdrop of darkness, and indie rock singer-songwriter Jesse Norell mines that metaphor on debut solo album Aorta Borealis to pay tribute to his daughter Alyssa. Born with Down Syndrome and holes in her heart that needed repair, Alyssa has become Norell’s muse for new music in the emotive vein of Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion, Sunny Day Real Estate, and more. His live show at the Parkway will capture the album’s cinematic feel—expect tugs at your heartstrings in addition to the strumming."
“Like an engaging film or a book you can’t put down, Aorta Borealis tells a heartfelt story that will have you drawn in from the first track and hold your attention until the very end.”
Shane Nissen - Album Divers Podcast (Includes Interview with Jesse)
"I appreciate you telling your story because I think it can be healing. While listening to the first part I thought ‘I could have a really good healing cry,’ connecting to a journey that a lot of parents have been on. People and doctors can tell you it’s going to be ok, but hearing it and seeing it as proof… sometimes we need that proof that we’re going to be ok."
Lori Saux - If We Knew Then Podcast (Includes Interview with Jesse)
"Best Dad Ever."
Good Morning America/ABC News (Includes video interview with Jesse and Alyssa)
"You Are is off his recently released album, Aorta Borealis, which is raising Down syndrome awareness. The song is great, the video is charming. Take a time out to watch and cheer up."
Mostly Minnesota Music ("You Are" Music Video Premiere)
"The Down syndrome community has had podcasts and social media, and now we have music to convey the journey that so many of us have been on. Aorta Borealis can help people who just had a child with Down syndrome know it's going to be ok, as well as those on the outside seeking a greater understanding."
Chantele - TALK Down Syndrome Podcast (Includes interview with Jesse)
"The mood varies from anguished to celebratory, but what are consistent are the sweetness of his voice, the tunefulness of the songs, and the colorful brilliance of the production. Aorta Borealis will have you dancing around the room and singing along when it doesn’t have you crying on the couch. Highly recommended to all libraries."
CDHotlist Album Review
"A dad's heartfelt message through song. A new album stringing together a story of strength and perseverance inspired by his six-year-old daughter."
FOX9 TV News Story 3.4.22 (Includes TV Interview with Jesse and Alyssa)
“As someone who has walked this road with thousands of families in my career, this album beautifully captures and chronicles the raw emotions that parents experience from initial fears to eventual pure love. I hope it brings reassurance and hope to those on the journey now and in the future.”
Kishore Vellody - MD, Down Syndrome Center of Western Pennsylvania (Includes Interview with Jesse)
"The album is an honest showing of what a family goes through when one of their own goes through health struggles – you hear it all from the pain and confusion to the happiness and love."
Children's Hospital MN Mighty Blog
"It is easy to think that the album has a primary market of families who have similar crises and I imagine this album will become the soundtrack or oasis for many but the album will have wider appeal. In sharing the details of his experience and his reactions, Jesse has tapped into the natural feeling when expectations are both dashed and exceeded in one action."
Mostly Minnesota Music (Includes Aorta Borealis album review and Podcast Interview with Jesse)
"The words in this album could have been my own. Jesse so eloquently put music to the words that run through my mind on a daily basis. We CAN do it, if we do it together."
Larkin O'Leary - President of Common Ground Society
“Listening to Aorta Borealis brought back memories of when my son was born. Jesse perfectly captures the emotion of a complicated diagnosis and subsequent hospital stay, but masterfully shows how that darkness turns into a wonderful celebration. Jesse's music is a perfect representation of parenthood, raising a child with a disability, and seeing the wonderful things in everyday life. I can't recommend Aorta Borealis enough.”
Collin Judkins - Just Some Dads Podcast Host (Includes Podcast Interview with Jesse)
“Having never personally experienced Down Syndrome, I have a greater understanding and appreciation for The Lucky Few who claim the privilege of that experience. Aorta Borealis was crucial in helping me feel those emotions and gain that understanding. Jesse is a great husband and father and an epic musician.”
Michael Watkins - Just Some Dads Podcast Host
"A Twin Cities father found his way back to the recording studio after his daughter’s health setbacks. And their music is giving other families a soundtrack to be able to pull through hard times."
WCCO TV News Story 1.20.22 (Includes TV Interview with Jesse)
“What a thrill to get to listen to an album that so beautifully advocates for and shouts the worth of people with Down syndrome. Jesse’s songs take the listener on a journey we are lucky to get to encounter.”
Heather Avis - Author of "The Lucky Few" and "Different - A Great Thing to Be"
"Holy moly!! So darn lovely... well composed, great lyrics, heartfelt, authentic, great production... love it!"
Craig Minowa - Emmy award winning composer and singer for Cloud Cult
“As a music nerd and lover of the album format, I appreciated the construction of this album and order of songs that told a story. As a new dad I couldn’t help feeling the weight and love of a father’s message to his daughter. This is more than an album. It’s a beautiful love letter.”
Trevor Dale - Album Divers Podcast
"Honestly, I got lost in it. I don't think there's anything I could do to that record to make it better. It's amazing."
Greg Williamson - Producer (Sunny Day Real Estate), owner of Greedtone Effects Pedals
"I think this record is going to touch a lot of parents and help them navigate their feelings, as well as the extended family of kids with Down syndrome."
Kyle Martin - The Upside Down Podcast (Includes interview with Jesse)
WCCO Radio Interview with Jearlyn Steele (starts at around 11 minutes)
KFAI Radio Spot (Starts at around 12 minutes)
89.3 The Current Video Premiere: The Lucky Few
Making A Scene Magazine Feature (Scroll WAY down)