Joy Of It

Jenny Bird

Earthlight Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


For an independent artist, Taos, New Mexico-based Jenny Bird sure has a professional reputation.

She has a discography larger than some flavor-of-the-week bands who get dropped from a major label weeks after being signed. She has performed with such established artists as J.J. Cale, Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler and Sarah McLachlan. Her latest studio release (and her seventh overall), Joy Of It, was produced by Jerry Marotta, who himself has quite the established name in the music industry.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So why haven't people heard more of Bird? The answer is, I don't know. But after listening to Joy Of It (which, I'm embarrassed to admit, has been lying around the Pierce Memorial Archives for about two years now), the major labels, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, have some 'splainin' to do.

Bird's musical and vocal style evokes memories of early Joni Mitchell mixed with a healthy dose of McLachlan and, to an extent, Shania Twain. But the overall sound that Bird creates is all her own, and throughout the 12 songs on this disc she shows that acoustic pop is still alive, well and entertaining.

Tracks like "Only Sing," "Beauty Surrounds Us" and "Fall Away" all serve as reminders to the listener of a musical art form which seems to have been forgotten in the past decade or so. It is rare to hear a musician create an acoustic landscape like Bird does throughout the course of this disc, captivating the listener with every word. It is even rarer to see a musician doing this at or near the top of the charts - hell, to even see them on the charts is a miracle in and of itself. This is more of a tragedy for true music fans than for the artists who still practice this trade.

Indeed, there is not a bad or weak track on Joy Of It, and Bird easily makes the argument that she should be a better-known name than her current status. If there is any flaw with the disc, maybe it's that I miss even the occasional sense of urgency that can rear its head in such gentle pop music. (One could call Bird's style folk, but I honestly don't believe that label fits her music, even if Bird's own website uses the term.)

One can only hope that the majority of music fans abandon the pabulum crammed down their throats by the major corporations and return to music like Bird creates. Once that happens, Joy Of It could well be declared an album to serve as a roadmap for other artists. Until then, Bird remains one of this country's best-kept secrets. Here's hoping that changes soon.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Earthlight Records, and is used for informational purposes only.