These days, songwriters from Portland, Oregon seem to come along like buses - two at a time! For no sooner have I cleared the download files for one s/s off my playlist than along comes another folder containing ten more of those irritatingly impersonal little sound-files (in vain, it seems, must I yearn for even a sight of the proper physical CD product with lyric sheet and credits and artwork). Yes, I do find Jenn's special brand of gentle indie-folk persuasively communicative. Her songs certainly seem to embody the DIY spirit, and here on her third full-length album she's gone the whole hog with renting a small house in Colorado and invited a handful of musical friends from various other local bands and projects to co-produce and create the album.
Jenn wrote all ten songs herself, with the aid of her trusty baritone ukulele which forms the basic accompaniment for the tracks, over each of which is overlaid a comforting (mostly individual or solo) contribution drawn from a pool of "golden colors" of flute, acoustic or electric guitar, banjo, violin, sometimes adding bass, as well as some gentle and often intricately-laced harmony vocals, all elements combining to both complement and accentuate the intimacy of Jenn's creations and performance. There's a dreamy, late-night feeling about the album; this proves most attractive, and its softly endearing quality enticingly encourages your concentration on Jenn's lyrics. These, say Jenn, can be grouped into four basic themes: the positive aspects of love, the heartbreak of love, world problems, and magical songs intended to mend us spiritually and connect back to nature.
These categories don't necessarily manifest in changes of mood or tempo, but overall Jenn's personal style is both persuasive and enchanting in a rather understated way, her expressive manner open and honest. Songwriting would appear to come easily and naturally to Jenn. In that regard I was sometimes reminded of the writing of Melanie Safka, sometimes even Gillian Welch too, but that's not meant to imply any derivativeness in Jenn's writing, for she has much to say.
In summary, this is one of those albums which will elicit a close response in the attentive listener (but take good care too, for it may also pass you by if you're not in the right frame of mind, since most of the songs up till the closer Troubled Land, are taken at a similarly lazy, leisurely tempo); actually, I like it a lot.
|Kathryn Claire: Bones Will Last||Courtney Yasmineh: High Priestess And The Renegade|
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