Jenn Grant: Orchestra for the Moon

By: Sarah Moore

26-year old Canadian Jenn Grant channels a soft-spoken Jolie Holland on Orchestra for the Moon (Paris 1919 Sound). Her twangy folk songs feature a whining but dulcet pedal steel (courtesy of Buck 65 collaborator Dale Murray) and myriad strings. The subtle instrumentation complements the caressing nature of her vocals. Grant's enunciation misleads the listener into assuming a Southern birthright as the ends of her phrases collapse into a country-yodel, closing her sound with a humming backswing. At times, she seems like she's whispering her most personal confessions right into one's ear (“Make It Home Tonight”), and at others Grant solidifies her voice, sometimes with the aid of backing vocalists Ron Sexsmith and Jill Barber.

On some selections, such as "Don’t Worry Baby," Grant shifts into scat-singing and syllable elongation, which allows her to maintain her delicate touch on faster-paced tunes. Standout track "Morning Break" proceeds in phases, recalling daybreak with minimal tones and a ringing organ. Grant enters the picture next, and more instruments join the fold. The bass and percussion start while Grant's lilting melody floats above the background. Eventually, handclaps break up the harmonized “oohs” and slow-piano interlude with a diggable, danceable backbeat.

The main complaint with this disc is with the lack of variety. After a few listens, the songs leave a bit to be desired, a lack of diversity that runs the risk of being boring. However, the slew of instruments (glockenspiel, melodica, bass clarinet, etc.) lend a hand in breaking up the monotony and helping create a dramatic, rich album worthy of praise.

JamBase | Nova Scotia
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[Published on: 5/25/07]

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