Jenny Van West
HAPPINESS TO BURN
Country Flavoured Folk Songs That Shine Like Stars on The Darkest of Nights.
Perhaps because my i-phone decided to quite randomly to file this album under ‘Indie’ it’s stayed undiscovered at RMHQ until yesterday when the title track, which doubles as track #1 Happiness To Burn found it’s way onto the car stereo and I instinctively reacted by turning it up; not that it needs to be played ‘loud’ by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted to hear it in all its glory.
What a lovely warm voice Jenny Van West has on this delightful Western Swing/Honky Tonk hybrid featuring some old time Jazz guitar; the likes of which have not been heard around here since Laura Cantrell recorded those Kitty Wells songs.
The next song Live in a New Way is a lot more contemporary in words and deeds, with Ms Van West channelling her inner Dusty Springfield on a sultry Southern Country tune.
While there’s a definite Country thread here; especially on Twenty-Seven Dollars and 45 which both get the toes a tappin and the heart a beatin;’ I’m more inclined to file this album under singer-songwriter as Jenny can shift gears with ease and throw in gorgeous ballads like Never Alone with its wailing organ and pedal-steel as well as stories from the dark end of Lonely Street ……Where I Stand and Embers which have to be really concentrated on to get the best out of them.
While the names of the supporting cast may not be exactly household names; their collective pedigree working with RMHQ favourites Lukas Nelson, Adam Cohen and Shooter Jennings as well as Jackson Browne’s piano player shine throughout and none more so than their subtle flourishes on the heartbreaker Can’t Have You Now and the song I’ve selected as my personal Favourite……..Thresholds which didn’t just touch my heart, but my soul as well.
First and foremost the lady from Maryland is not just a super singer with a lovely and distinctive voice; but a marvelous and thoughtful storyteller too, which connected to Shane Alexander’s ace production and the mixing and engineering from Brian Yaskulka makes this, her second album shine like a star on a the darkest of nights.
Released April 20th 2018