(28 September 2008) It has been a full five years since release of Balligomingo's Beneath The Surface (review), yet the album plays frequently for many listeners if not on their players then firmly in their minds. The timeless album has become a true classic. At the time of the Balligomingo release, Canadian singer songwriter Jennifer Hershman was still promoting her album Knowingly Naive released under the moniker "Chic P." Our Women Of Balligomingo digest captured reviews of recordings by all of the album's vocalists, including Jennifer Hershman's Chic P solo project.
We are now five years on. Jennifer's latest offering is a twelve track collection of tunes spanning a wide range of styles. The album includes four live tracks and also includes at least one Balligomingo out take. We caught up with Jennifer shortly after the release of The Little Things (SOCAN (Canada) MSCHP-0070, 2007) and have listened intently to her newest recording. Jennifer has also updated her official website and has an active presence with her latest candid photos at MySpace. Listen to songs streaming from the new album there.
iTunes wants to categorize The Little Things as a folk album. Indeed the acoustic ballads are folky but this album is clearly planted firmly in accessible singer songwriting territory. The lighly arranged "Embrace" opens the album and serves to re-introduce voice both in lead and harmony parts. As one would expect from an album with various styles, the tracks are anything but all the same. "Wrecking" is a hearfelt and sensually sung ballad underscored crisp percurrsion, electric guitar and further instrumental riffs. Listen for breaks in the arrangement where the powerful voice coming from within Jennifer's petite frame rings through.
Bluesy electric guitar riffs are unable to drown out Jennifer's voice in the most evocative ballad"What Matters" written and performed with Balligomingo's Vic Levak. Self-harmonizing vocal layers add great texture but aren't necessary to add power to compete with the electric guitar-based arrangements. "Sit Back" in contrast is a piano-backed ballad that clearly showcases Jennifer's stunning vocal talent. Sensually delivered, it is clearly one of the album standouts. And with richer guitar and percussion arrangements, "All Or Nothing" builds the album's intensity. Vocals clearly jump out of the mix as they do in the more starkly arranged "Movie," also produced by Vic Levak at Hush Sound. Listen for the string foundation in the track.
Four "live" tracks grace the album. The first one is entitled "Potential." The stunning recording reveals the powerful on-stage personal of Jen Hershman lightly accompanied acoustically on guitar and light percussion. The flavor extends into Jen's cover of the Radiohead favorite "High and Dry." More completely arranged, the track features a combination of crystalline and whispy vocal textures that do the artist very proud. Following a brief "thank you guys" to the audience, an acoustic guitar introduces the lovely Coldplay track "Fix You," passionately delivered to her live audience. Listeners will be treated to the introduction to the acoustic ballad "Sit Back" as the live set comes to a conclusion.In addition to the Radiohead and Coldplay covers, the album includes a stunning personal simple acoustic guitar-based rendition of Judy Garland's "Over The Rainbow" from The Wizard Of Oz. We admire not only her talent but Jennifer's tremendous courage to include such a long standing classic on the album. The album concludes with an upbeat, sensual and dance-oriented Balligomingo out take entitled "Thinking Of You" that while enjoyable is entirely outside the general construction and spirit of the rest of the album. It's great news that another Balligomingo out take has surfaced. As far as the track, watch out Madonna!
It is great to hear one of the Women Of Balligomingo continuing to spread her wings outside the framework the album set five years ago. Jennifer Hershman has much virtuousity and demonstrates the ease in which she captures an audience on The Little Things. Get a copy today!