Jenny Berkel “Here On A Wire”
Canadian singer-songwriter Jenny Berkel skilfully draws the listener to her work. Such is her emotion torn, lilting style the age-old adage ‘like a moth to the flame’ could not be more apt.
Support for the Ontario born and raised, now Winnipeg residing, Berkel comes from producer Matt Peters (electric, slide guitar, organ), Quintin Bart (upright bass), her sister, Kristen Berkel (vocals, piano), Michelle Elrick (vocals, banjo), Natalie Dawe (cello), Daniel Jordon (drums, percussion) plus brass from Rachel Shapera (clarinet) and Todd Martin (French horn and flugelhorn) to go with her own guitar and piano.
Peters in particular makes a big contribution due to the artful and precise feel obtained in the arrangements. A perfect foil for Berkel as she shares tales of love lost, grievous family loss, cityscapes and an ever-present urge to wander, and though these are early days ('Here On The Wire' being her full-length debut, following an EP in 2010) I fully expect Berkel to kick-on from here.
Of the tracks I was immediately taken by the finely spun, artistic cuts “Love Is A Stone’’ (with familiar melody as it skips along to a choppy rhythm and a never far away, foreboding feel) that sets the ball rolling. Simplistic ode “In The Hollow” follows it out of the chute that in turn enjoys the poetic “All Is Done” and a banjo etched “You Don’t Hesitate”plus a smartly delivered “Crook Of Now And Then”.
Otherwise, the songs are slow burners that take time to blossom and gain a foothold in the mind of the listener, albeit “After The Moon Falls” on possessing a greater sense of urgency as percussion and horns it strikes quickly and sticks! All but “Awaken In Stars” (a poem by Elrick with music from Peters) come from the pen of Berkel, who is hell bent on creating artful music of a lasting feel. Good luck to her. More like her is needed, and such is her ear this wont be her last either.