Written By: Fletcher Bonin
With her sixth studio album Paradise, Jenn Grant capitalizes on her original sound. Grant graces our ears from her home base in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That’s right, add her to the list of things making Canada great, right on the heels of the recently surfaced photos of young Justin Trudeau. Paradise is eleven tracks of sonic bliss. Grant is cultivating a unique sound based in folk-pop, her mesmerizing, controlled vocals giving life to her lyrics, which she writes herself. Pop music often has connotations of mainstream sellout radio tunes. While this is partly true, this is not the definition that applies to Grant. She is folk-pop, like an Ed Sheeran meets James Taylor in style, and the vocal range of Sheryl Crowe.
She is combining indie and bluegrass with her uplifting vocals. This makes for music that will turn around any bad day and enhance any good one. She sings with carefree abandon and still manages to rein in her soaring notes for a controlled, perfectly timed and meticulously arranged performance. Minimalist instrumentals, perhaps a piano, loose drum patterns, and some light guitar most often back her up. This allows her ethereal vocals to dominate, transporting us to sun dappled fields of Canada. Seemingly on a dime, she shifts from soaring high notes to steadily uttered altos plucked as though her voice itself were acoustic.
And her singing is only one component of the masterwork that is Paradise. Her lyrics tell stories and detail experiences in sometimes abstract, sometimes poignant phrases and lines. While it is often easy to lose yourself in the beauty and upbeat tone of her voice, a closer examination will reveal that many of her lyrics are born of pain and struggle, belied by the personal strength she exudes on every track. Perhaps the most powerful track is that of the album’s same name, ‘Paradise’. This tack ranges in theme and mood from start to finish, leaving us with a spectrum of emotions and feelings to process. It is on tracks like this that her lyrical mastery is most pronounced. She sings,
“I’m a two step honey I’m your trigger, I’m your paradise, all my saving graces can be twisted, up in time, and I am longing for you like there’s nothing left to hide.”
Other wondrous tracks off of Paradise are ‘Galaxies’, ‘Working Girl’ and ‘Lion With Me’. Jenn Grant has stories to tell, and all told she is creating musical poetry on this latest album.