The honeymoon continues for East Coast nightingale Jenn Grant who released her third album on Six Shooter Records on September 25, 2012 and on Ba Da Bing Records in The USA in Januray 2013. With The Beautiful Wild, Jenn follows love’s twisted, tangled path deep into the heart of the jungle. The new record is about finding the courage to lose oneself in the wilderness, in all of its savage and sublime experiences.
Jenn Grant’s The Beautiful Wild, her fourth (but first US-released) record, is a depart from the giddy blush of Honeymoon Punch, Jenn Grant’s Juno Nominated and Polaris Long Listed previous album. There is a mature solemnity to be found that creates a new intimacy and immediacy with the listener. Jenn Grant’s intuitive ability to express emotion has helped to define her as one of Canada’s premiere vocalists; even in the darkest corners of the wilderness, her prismatic, iridescent voice continues to sparkle, dancing over adventurous new layers that include harp, flute and sitar.
These songs are soulful and ornate, with lush guitars, pianos, horns, banjos, strings and even a boys’ choir that populates the album like trees in the woods. But everything stands aside for Grant’s captivating singing, a thick tenor that trails like heavy smoke. While her past material established her throughout Canada as a musician of distinct note, The Beautiful Wild propels her into new realms of accomplishment.
Over the time period that The Beautiful Wild was conceived and completed, Jenn’s life took significant turns. First, she married Daniel Ledwell, who is now her musical collaborator and producer. Having spent the past ten years living in bustling downtown Halifax, she and Ledwell moved to a home in the wilds of Lake Echo (population 3,562). Like her youth on PEI, Jenn chose the reflection of a removed life and took a step away from the city. It was in this environment that The Beautiful Wild was completed.
In the video for “The Fighter,” shots cut from Grant to a recently-uncovered 16mm film footage of her mother, around the same age that Jenn is now. Jenn and her brother found this footage, untouched, only days after their mother passed away in May 2012. In this sacred time capsule she is portrayed as the Azalea Queen in a downtown parade, in Norfolk Virgina, 1973. A clear connection between Jenn and her mother’s life becomes clear through many songs on the album. As Jenn’s mother was ill for only a short time, these songs were all written in a short time period only days before her sickness became apparent, and were used a method of healing and connection between her time on this earth, and her the process of transformation. The lyrics and melodies in these songs became closer their story, and as time passed as a eulogy for her mother’s strength and passion.
This connection to life and the afterlife can also be heard on “Michael”. It is a hymn for a boy Jenn never knew, though when she met his family and felt the connection they share for his spirit, she felt it was important to write a song to honor this. She fell so in love with this family, that she acted as matchmaker for her brother and her now future sister-in law.
As the album begins with “The Fighter,” it secretly closed with a heartfelt cover of one of the eighties most enervating battle songs. For Jenn, it’s not so much winning the battle as knowing what you have, where you are and being ready for the thrill of the fight. You can hear this on an eerily moody and sultry version of Eye of The Tiger if you let the record play on.
Jenn Grant is a lively member of a thriving East Coast artist community. The Beautiful Wild features many notable performers, including Old Man Luedecke, Rose Cousins, Erin Costello and Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!), as well as forty one members of the Halifax Boys’ Honour Choir, who were all between the ages of seven and eleven years of age during the time of this recording.