Jennifer Roland,
For Each New Day
(independent, 2005)

When listening to Jennifer Roland's latest album, For Each New Day, I can hear the influence of the eastern side of Cape Breton Island in her playing. It has a bit of an Irish sound and does not have the "dirty" sound that one can hear on the western side. Like her other albums, this one also portrays a variety of other styles because of the instruments that Jennifer surrounds herself with.

Track five, "Master Crowley's," has a rock sound because it is heavy on the bass (played by Allie Bennett), drums (Brian Talbot) and Rhodes and keys (Ryan MacNeil of the Celtic-rock band, Slainte Mhath). Track six, "Alyssa Crystal Dawn's Waltz," has a very southern American sound because it includes Dobro (Dough Proctor) and mandolin (Bennett).

While these sounds are interesting, my favorite tracks are those that portray a typical Cape Breton sound and use very basic instrumentation. Track 4, the "Editor's Favorite," is an excellent example of this. It is simply fiddle and piano, which allows the listener to really hear the strathspeys and reels because there isn't too much going on around them. This track is also the perfect tempo. It shows that tunes don't need to be played at warp speed to grasp the ear.

"Johnny Cope" is another great example. It does have a bit of bass and there are pipes on the end of the set, but overall, it sounds very simple. It is my favorite track on the album.

Jennifer is excellent at playing slow tunes as well. My favorite of these is "Sadie's Waltz," which Jennifer composed for her mother. Another beautiful tune that she wrote is "This Flower I Pick for You," which is dedicated to the Parkinson's Society of Canada, for which Jennifer is the musical ambassador. The tune was written in memory of her late father, who recently lost his battle with the disease. It has a beautiful melody, but again, I think this melody would stand out better if it had a little less accompaniment.

Overall, this album has a great variety of tunes and a lot of energy. The last track, "The Accents Set," sums it up really well and makes me long to see Jennifer at the Festival Club at the Celtic Colours festival, again!

by Kaitlin Hahn
17 June 2006