About Jesse

    A veteran newspaper reporter, Jesse tells stories of regular people living with passion, struggling against injustice or simply practicing their faith. Through songwriting, magazine journalism and essays, Jesse aims to describe the human condition, especially the search for transcendence.


    The Atlantic


Jesse James DeConto is a journalist, author, musician and worship leader in Durham, N.C. His reporting has had him working alongside Mexican migrants in the Christmas-tree fields of Appalachia, sitting with the mother of a death-row inmate at the moment of her son’s execution, and immersing with activists protesting usurious interest rates in the lobby at Bank of America headquarters. His spiritual memoir is This Littler Light: Some Thoughts on NOT Changing the World, recounting his journey from the Moral Majority to the Beloved Community.

His indie-pop band The Pinkerton Raid has produced two albums of his songwriting, appearing regularly at Wild Goose and other festivals up the East Coast and landing on the Bandspotting compilation at the 2013 Festival of Faith and Music in Grand Rapids, Mich. The band’s sophomore album, A Beautiful World, released in August 2014.

A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Jesse leads communities in sacred hymns and spiritually rich pop songs with a folk style influenced by the country Gospel tradition. He has worked as contemporary music minister in a couple of churches and is founder of Durham County Beer & Hymns, an inclusive, rowdy hymn-sing currently meeting at 7:30pm on the third Sunday of every month at Fullsteam Brewery. Here is our digital lyric book.