And now for something completely different, as Monty Python used to say. I’m always on the lookout for foreign albums where I know there is an underlying quality of music in the area they come from. This effort arises out of a small corner of Sweden I’ve covered previously and where there appear to be more bands and solo artists than there are traffic wardens in Manchester.
Jenny C (for Christofferson) is a 41-year old music teacher and part time concert pianist who got a middle age urge to have a crack at song writing and being a rock star while she still could. The result was ‘Sign’ which was initially conceived and recorded at her cottage from 2012 and launched at the end of last week. A number of tracks have been posted to Soundcloud over the last few months in anticipation of that release, including Feel Me.
The album was recorded in Sweden but its claim to fame is that it was mastered by Alex Wharton (The Beatles, Radiohead, Coldplay, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers etc) at Abbey Road studios sandwiched in between work for Sir Paul McCartney; Wharton having insisted on it after hearing a couple of raw tracks. Christofferson’s influences, arising out of her father’s professional work for CBS, range from The Beatles via Duran Duran, Blondie, the Sex Pistols and Elvis Costello to Mendelssohn. On the six tracks that are available on Soundcloud there’s evidence of just about all of them, except perhaps the Pistols, and of course a little bit of the ubiquitous Abba.
Apparently Wharton’s brief from ‘C’ after she’d stopped playing the Penny Lane piano in the studios was that he should achieve a sound that approximated to “fat pork with onion sauce” whatever that is. It must mean something in Stockholm. It’s certainly a big sound to go with her big voice, backed up by her band mates from Blue Country, for which she plays piano. Especially on another track, Time, she has a lot in common with the sound, and vocal delivery, of Ren Harvieu.
It was hard to decide on a particular track for SftD and as I don’t have the full album yet I couldn’t cover everything. There’s plenty of variety. Apart from Feel Me, the most poppy track, on Shut Up it could be Shirley Bassey singing to a big band background while Circus is the heaviest rock track and Flowers is something you might hear on Elaine Page’s musicals programme on Radio 2 on Sunday afternoon, delivered by Elaine Page herself.
The lyrics are not particularly taxing but the music is stimulating. A good first effort from someone who decided that the time for “what if” style wishful thinking was over.
©D J Bentley 2015
*You can find all of Jenny C’s tracks over on her Soundcloud.*