Earthlight Music, 1998
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/26/2003
Jenny Bird's lack of a major label distribution deal is a perfect example as to why the music business is completely screwed up. This kind of brilliance shouldn't have to struggle to get noticed.
While that statement's somewhat didactic, I also think it's true. I've already raved about Bird's last release Joy Of It, and named it one of the top ten CDs of last year. Now, I've gotten my hands on some of her back catalog, and I'm happy to announce that it wasn't a fluke. Into Stars, her 1998 release, is simply wonderful, and more people should have heard it.
Bird is a singer-songwriter, a definite endangered species in a world where music acts are shaped, bred, and promoted like genetic engineering. She sings what she feels about, her truly powerful and precise voice wrapping itself around the strings of her guitar. There's not much else on Into Stars, but there doesn't need to be; when additional instrumentation is used (such as the ethereal and elegant keyboard intro on "Dreamworld") it's used sparingly, and therefore has quite an effect. The production, by Jerry Marotta, is spare and dry, highlighting the music, and goes perfectly with the focused style Bird brings to her music.
If there's a difference between Into Stars and Joy Of It, it's that Bird seems a touch more -- well, I don't want to say angry on this CD, but certainly more fervent. On songs like "Body Blessing," "Not A Saint Yet," and "Emotional," she hits points of emotional expression that, just for a moment, tear into more ragged emotion than anything on Joy Of It. Let me be quick to clarify, that's not a bad thing; it's just a little different.
Still, this CD is chock-full of tasty songwriting goodness: "Change Your Mind," "None To Find," "Dive Deep," "I Know Nothing," "Hide And Seek"…oh, just get the damn CD, it's better than ninety percent of the stuff out there. Gracious, talented, and doing it her own way -- the world needs a lot less EmptyVee nonsense and a lot more Jenny Bird. Into Stars is wonderful.