Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Reviews:: Jen Lane

It's usually around this time of year when I start gravitating towards country pop, female artists. The sun starts coming out earlier and shining longer, and you just feel like jumping in the car and getting out of the city for no reason other than to leave. And without question, the sound of a heart broken female voice with just a hint of soul shining through really makes those drives better. Case in point, when Saskatoon's Jen Lane lets the organ take over from her acoustic driven whiskey fueled reminiscing on Call on Me, you just feel like you should be leaving your headaches and heartaches behind you as you barrel out of the city.

In fact, her self-titled release really is the perfect accompaniment for summer drives, back porches or early morning coffees. It's enjoyable, uplifting and Lane really sets a great tone on this record. Her stories are emotional and engaging, but the music never drags you down. The freedom and enjoyment of extended, foot stomping solos and sing-along harmonies (like on Hold on Strong or Broken Down Train) adds a nice spark.

All too often when a singer starts exploring what's inside, the end result is an introverted, 45-minute long collection of sadness. Lane prefers to include you in her experiences. She writes accessible songs that you will listen to over and over again, content to let her emotions and poetry seep in instead of overwhelming you on a heavy first listen. She makes you feel like it's time to get over it and move on, and it's that optimism that really helps slower numbers like Barely Above Me or Call On Me hit home.

The thing about this record that really works is the sheen the band adds. Whether it's a smooth organ, subtle strings or nice harmonies, the songs feel complete. Lane's not just another singer sitting on a stool, hoping to catch your ear. No, she and her band know how to reveal a song slowly and confidently. Spell on You jumps out of the gate with the organ, but it's the dueling acoustics that push the song along and makes it feel so familiar. You can picture your friends playing her songs and you start to think her stories could be yours and that's why you will listen to this record over and over again.

[MP3]:: Angie
[MP3]:: Call on Me

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Posted at 4:49 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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