Jenny Brennan,
Avalon
(self-produced, 2002)

The photo on this six-track CD probably was taken in Pennsylvania, since Jenny Brennan hails from York, Pa., but it just as easily could be a scene from a tree-lined area in the United Kingdom. The stark black-and-white photo of trees in the mist sets the scene for the lyrics "don't get lost in the mists of Avalon" from the song that serves both as title track and opening number.

"Avalon" is a good introduction to Brennan's work. It starts off as an acoustic piece featuring guitar and percussion, but then it suddenly segues into a rocking number, with Bret Alexander, Paul Smith and Ron Simasek of the Badlees adding their musical contributions.

Brennan is a singer-songwriter who apparently can work her magic as a crossover artist. She has a silky voice that works fine on gentle pensive verses, but there are times when it just really needs to break out and rock on the refrains. "Someday" sounds like a song that Bonnie Raitt might want to cover eventually. There's a subtle hint of blues and alt. country to it, with moments when Brennan gives in and lets her voice take over and rock. "Recover (Your Heart)" is an out-and-out rock song, and it's contrasted nicely with "And They Ran," a would-be rocker with subtle touches and gentle acoustics.

Overall, the entire CD is a nice sampler of what this talented up-and-coming performer can do. It's too bad that it is simply a sampler; where's the rest of the music?

- Rambles
written by Ellen Rawson
published 11 January 2003

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