Feb. 10, 2010 - Issue #747: Abnormal Growth
JENN GRANT: A classic approach
Haligonian songwriter eschews computers on latest disc
Interviewing an artist from their home can be an interesting roll of the
dice: there's a candidness to the setting that can be very revealing. Without
exposing too much of her private life, when I reach singer songwriter Jenn
Grant at her home in Halifax, her end of the conversation carries an air of
chaos and charm—which may explain the child-likeness of her music.
Grant's creative energy has fueled two fascinating records of
quirky-yet-graceful folk music, as much the offerings of a wild imagination
as the confessions of a mature artist.
"I think of my music as free-sounding—a juxtaposition of happy and sad," she explains, adding that the recording process of her latest, Echoes, "focused more on singing, and my own voice and a more organic sound, live off the floor—sounds like water and wind. I think some of the themes are darker, but it was nice to mix that with a very natural sound."
Fans will recognize the same collection of imaginative, complex pop movements that drew comparisons to Regina Spekter and Feist on Grant's first album, Orchestra for the Moon, yet there's a greater style and complexity to Grant's song this time around that is quite unique. There's a wildness here, a wilderness and landscape that engages the listener to climb inside, thanks in part to the writing and recording process with piano/producer Jonathon Goldsmith.
"He's such a beautiful piano player, and I wanted that on the record, for him to 'Jonathon Goldsmith' me," she explains of the decision to work with one of Canada's living piano legends. "I was very open to direction, and I prefer it that way. Jonathon is really easy to communicate to, and I trusted him right away. I think he wanted to be true to the origins of the song and see where they went naturally when we played together.
"Before the album was made, we spent a lot of time in his office where he would smoke cigarettes, and I was just playing guitar and singing, which is how I'd always written," she reveals.
Ultimately, the duo decided to record to analogue tape to capture the
intimacy and honesty that her music has come to be known for.
"I felt really excited to do something without any computers around, because I'd been listening to older stuff like Patsy Cline and wanted to make a classic album," she says. "I really wanted that experience, to feel like a true artist. Technology is handy, but it seems like anyone I know who's around a computer all day isn't very happy at the end." V
Sat, Feb 13 (8pm)
With Jason Plumb & the Willing
Convocation Hall, U of A, $15
New comments for this entry have been turned off and any existing ones are hidden. We apologize for any inconvenience.