Jennie Arnau

Chasing Giants

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On her fifth independently released album, South Carolina native Jennie Arnau sings songs with a cowgirl's spirit searching for answers. The imagery of the Old West and rural Americana is firmly stamped on this music that reflects pure country and folk roots, with just a small sample of big-city sophistication. Help from veteran jazz and studio keyboardist Pete Levin, guitarist Rod Hohl, and various string players adds further to this out-of-town feeling, as Arnau's pliable and pleasant voice tells tales of her youth, growing up in doubt, and wandering through the innocence of childhood. She enjoys fantasy stories brought to life in songs such as the love tryst between "The Sparrow & the Gods" in a rock/pop format, punctuated by Levin's B-3. Some rock-oriented tunes may expose a strained vocal component, but when Arnau sings comfortably in lighthearted refrains, as on the waltz "Safe Tonight" or "Jack B Nimble" in references to daddy, the little girl in her grows up quickly. She speaks of being turned around by life's circumstance, evinces what could have been, or understands the roller-coaster ride of everyday living on "Bouncing Ball," alongside the plucky banjo playing of the always brilliant Noam Pikelny. In a somewhat retro fashion, Jennie Arnau is becoming an adult before our ears on these recordings that show she is indeed walking in the footsteps of giants instead of trying to be more like them.

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