The wider I open my eyes (And ears), the more I find in my own back yard. Case in point: Singer-songwriter Jenny Van West is a New Englander with an impressive array of sounds, all culminating in her new album ‘Happiness to Burn’, releasing today. On this album you will find folk, country, and jazz all mixed into a melting pot of pleasant vocal-driven Americana.
There are several things that grabbed me on first listen to this album, not the least of which is the great variation of influences that show up; but equally interesting is how well the songs play into each other. With so many different styles in play, it would be easy to lose all order, but somehow they keep it cohesive. The accompaniment is minimal and varied, the vocals are the focus, but the lyrics really shine as well.
The title track is a key-happy swinger that you can’t help but want to dance to. “45” is a boot-stomper, as is “Twenty Seven Dollars”; both break up the album nicely, allowing each of the slower songs to have a bit more meaning. I am particularly fond of “Thresholds”, with its sentimental what-ifs, and dreamy vibes. The album ends with “Embers”, which eases you out nicely and contains some great one-liners.
I could give you a long line of different artists that I see similarities to in certain songs, but I think that would take away from much of what I like about this album and Jenny’s style, the fact that it really is her own.
‘Happiness to Burn’ releases today: It can be found on her website.
You can follow Jenny on Facebook too