Jenn Lindsay, |
(No Evil Star, 2002)
Jenn Lindsay is a new name and voice to me. From the publicity I gather that she is a receptionist and has busked the New York City subway system to finance this CD. She styles herself as Joni Mitchell with a dash of Ani DiFranco. She is definitely folk with a truckload of attitude and perhaps that's what folk needs.
The lyrics are certainly fresh and there is a great deal of wit in among the strong words that Jenn uses to express herself.
"Olly Olly Oxen Free" gives an idea of the stylish titles here. The lyrics are definitely new and of the modern world about men who "blow horns and pee" and life in the big city -- "I turned 45 when I turned 15." This is not a CD to buy as a Christmas gift for that maiden aunt -- but then again maybe this is how she thinks, too.
"Athena" is another excellent track that is sung with feeling such as only a singer-songwriter can do. "I'm Not Going Home Yet" is a nice antidote to a lot of what was written in the aftermath of Sept. 11 for people living in the real world: "Things that matter on September 10th still matter like paying the rent." Jenn Lindsay will either scare everyone from moving to the big city or she will encourage every young rebel out there to get urbanized.
"I Call Myself a Flower" is so atypical of her other songs it jars. It is a naive song of a young girl in love. But it is also a very good track.
"Salvation Army" is the only track not written by the singer. It laments such things as all the clothes in the thrift store were designed for much thinner girls. The writer makes a fantastic saga out of what most people see as a shop filled with old clothes. Jenn sings it with heart and fervour.
Jenn Lindsay is a scary singer; I would love to see her perform live but would be afraid of her picking on audience members who do not sing along. She brings a new raw edge to folk that Dylan and Baez brought to the scene in the 1960s. She looks sacred cows in the eye and does not blink. Her language is that of the street, of the people rather than of the radio and TV censor and her music benefits from it. But she can also offer the gentle song and if some of these were given the exposure that they deserve New York would be one receptionist short but the folk world would be one star richer.
In order to avoid offence this CD should carry a parental advisory; some of the language may offend although it is sung in context and adds realism to the voice of a great performer.
Keep going Jenn; you have the guts to make it and the talent to sustain it. If you dare, check out her home page.
[ by Nicky Rossiter ]