Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jenny Whiteley -- Forgive or Forget

Forgive or Forget
Black Hen

Forgive or Forget, Jenny Whiteley’s fourth solo album – she started her career as one of the lead singers in Heartbreak Hill, a bluegrass band – is a quiet, subtle record filled with songs that examine love and relationships from a variety of angles.

Jenny opens the album with a melancholy, but sweet, version of “Raining In My Heart,” a Felice and Boudleaux Bryant song first recorded more than half a century ago by Buddy Holly. It’s the album’s only cover tune, the rest of the songs were either written or co-written by Jenny.

Among my favourite tracks are “Cold, Cold Kisses,” which almost seems like it could be a Hank Williams song; “Truth and the Eyes of the Dead,” featuring some truly haunting guitar playing by producer Steve Dawson, in which the narrator advises someone to “get out while you can” because it just ain’t gonna happen; and “Ripple Effect,” one of the few upbeat songs in the set and one of a couple that features harmonies from Tim O’Brien, one of my favourite singers for many years.

Jenny’s first two albums won Juno Awards for Solo Roots/Traditional Album of the Year. Those awards set high expectations for her subsequent recordings, expectations that Forgive or Forget meets or exceeds.

Among Jenny’s upcoming concert dates are shows at Divan Orange in Montreal on March 27 (Rob Lutes shares the bill) and the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, QC near Ottawa on March 28.

--Mike Regenstreif

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