Jayne Margo-Reby,
Shades of Reason
(MSB, 1999)

Florida singer-songwriter Jayne Margo-Reby's second and latest release, 1999's Shades of Reason, displays her talents well. The themes of her songs are honest and open, and her voice lends itself well to the stripped-down format of the songs. Unfortunately, there's nothing exceptionally new here. There is a rich folk roots tradition in Florida, of which Margo-Reby is a vital part. Unfortunately, there is little on this disc to set her apart from other young female artists of the genre.

The personal nature of the songs makes the listener feel as if Margo-Reby is opening herself to her audience. The songs are simple, reflecting the simplicity and ordinariness of most of our lives. Songs about summer rain, true love and walks on the beach are well-written, but they fail to capture the imagination of the listener.

Margo-Reby plays guitar well; often it is the only accompaniment to her clear cool voice. Her husband, Vic Bersok, lends his vocal and percussion talents throughout the record. Margo-Reby has written or co-written all but two tracks, Michael Smith's "The Dutchman" and the traditional favourite "The Water is Wide," which she dedicates to her parents.

A highlight of the record is "Never Always," which brings home the point that "absolutes don't mean anything -- it's the journey that makes the difference." As with all musical journeys, that is true in the case of Jayne Margo-Reby. Shades of Reason is but the beginning of her journey.

[ by Rachel Jagt ]
Rambles: 8 September 2001

Buy it from Amazon.com.