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Jen Stevens Jen Stevens
Album: Little One
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

Jen Stevens is well known on the local music scene, where she has played extensively with her band as Jen and the Hiccups. This, her debut album, is her first solo venture and was originally intended to be only an EP. Clearly the universe had bigger ideas. produced by Jordan Embleton, was celebrated with a launch gig at esteemed local venue, The Customs House, on the edge of the River Tyne. In fact it was recorded there, in the CustomSpace and Jen's vocals and piano pieces were recorded live in the theatre itself. As such, what has been captures is a sense of her voice in the moment, as it happened.

She is an advocate for mental health and the album explores this theme; both her own mental health and that of those around her. Even the artwork of the album reflects this, including the photographs which were taken on South Shields beach. It was written following the loss of her mother two years ago and in part documents the various stages of grief, alongside the idea of looking after each other and those close to us.

The title track, Little One, was inspired by Jen's dad, who uses it as a nickname for her; in fact, he called her it over the phone during a crucial moment at the beach, which sowed the seeds for the song. Certainly a standout track, along with such songs as He Already Knows, Running, The Siren and Leap. Jen's piano playing is both sublime and very atmospheric, perfectly accompanying her eclectic vocals

Collectively, the songs, both lyrically and musically, convey a real sense of time, place and emotions; listening to it i was struck by a sense of pride to call the place which inspired it, home. I'd like to think that those listening to it may feel compelled to visit for themselves. Who knows, they may even catch Jen playing live when they do, if they take the leap.

Helen Mitchell