| Nov 16, 2006


Feature Article - November 16, 2006

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Feature Article - November 16, 2006

Jenny Whitely "dear" and Christine Graves "wreckless daughter"CDreleases

by JeffGreen

Singer songwriter Christine Graves, newly returned to Balderson, joined Elphin’s Jenny Whiteley for a combined CD release concert at the Maberly Hall last Friday night.

“wreckless daughter” is Christine Graves’ fourth release, and her first since “stray”, which was released in 2001. She was a member the a capella group Malaika, between 2000 and 2005.

“wreckless daughter” is the product of a period of reflection in Christine Graves’ life. The title track contains the telling verses “she wants to spread her wings, like a song bird, open up and sing” and later “flying cross the water, headed home, reckless daughter”.

In her live show, Christine sang most of her songs accompanying herself on guitar. She was also joined by Biron on bass on three numbers, and she also played a little piano and some harmonica.

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She performed most of the songs from “wreckless daughter” and even if the live show did not have the richness of music that came from the full band backing on the cd, the intimacy of the sound and the surroundings made up for it.

Much of ‘wreckless daughter’ is confessional poetry. It is about the life experiences that Christine has undergone in the past few years, the reference to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter’ is not gratuitous, and the cd succeeds musically by virtue of the tunefulness of the songs and Christines’ voice.

“wreckless daughter” is also about journeys, through the seasons, as in ‘chickadeesong’, and the vagaries of love in songs like ‘some old things’ and others.

‘ Santa Maria ’, the final song on the cd, sums it all up beautifully, with the lines, “in this moment lies a lifetime, in each love your destiny. Now this journey must be ending, like each day with each sun set. Santa Maria always waiting, memories we can’t forget”.

After the break at the Maberly show, Jenny Whiteley and her guitarist/songwriting partner/husband Joey Wright took the stage to celebrate the release of Jenny’s third solo album, “dear”.

‘dear’ was produced by Steve Dawson, who also produced Jenny Whiteley’s juno award winning ‘Hopetown’ a couple of years ago. The 12 eclectic songs on ‘dear’ include a classic old style bluegrass number, “Banjo Girl”, which Jenny wrote with Joey, some darker story songs like ‘Indoor lightening’, ‘Yellow Couch’ and ‘Four storey Story’, a traditional cheating song “Other Side of Life”, sung as a duet on the cd with Jim Byrnes, and distinctive covers of Ray Davies ‘Heart of Gold’ and Chris Whiteley’s ‘Take Your Time and Do it Right.”

While ‘dear’ features drums and bass and piano or organ flourishes in most cases, with ‘Banjo Girl’ being a notable exception, the sound was pared down in Maberly to Jenny on rhythm guitar and lead vocals and Joey on lead guitar and backing vocals. To my ears, a few of the numbers in Maberly sounded more relaxed, more authentic than the album. This was particularly true of ‘Take Your Time and Do it Right’.

Whether live or in recordings, a new collection of songs from Jenny Whitely is always welcome, and her ability to deliver dark and witty lyrics of her own creation is second to none.

There is a great example of this on the final song of the album.

It’s called “When it Rains I Pour”, and contains the lyric ‘Oh a man might take a drink but the drink will take a man, and how it begins is a serpent in a tree. I looked over the garden wall, and the rain began to fall. Feels like rain, and when it rains, I pour’.

Near the end of the Maberly show, special guest Melwood Cutlery joined Jenny and Joey on piano, and performed a heartbreaking version of “The Ballad Moonlight Lady” from his “Campfire” release.

All in all, it was a fine night of original music in Maberly, the performance capital on the Fall River .

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