Jenny Bird

Joy of It

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When Jenny Bird recorded her seventh album, Joy of It, in 2002, the veteran singer/songwriter had been a recording artist for 26 years. Bird hadn't become a huge name in the folk-rock world, but she had built an impressive catalog -- and Joy of It is a welcome addition to that catalog. The title is appropriate because lyrically, this is the sort of album that tends to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. Bird brings an optimistic outlook to "For the Joy of It," "Beauty Surrounds Us," and other originals, which isn't to say that she's a Pollyanna. There are some alterna-rockers who have had an extremely dark view of the world -- Nirvana, for example -- and some new age artists who divorce themselves from any type of blues feeling. Bird, however, is in the middle. If Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill was a singer/songwriter's ultimate angst-fest, Joy of It finds Bird taking a close look at the world around her -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- and coming out on the side of optimism. On "Fearless," Bird acknowledges that people have valid reason to feel cynical, but concludes that those who are strong-minded will refuse to let cynicism or fear run their lives. This memorable CD was produced by Jerry Marotta, who doesn't over-produce -- and that's a good thing because Bird and her musicians are well-served by a more organic sound. Some of those musicians are heard on acoustic non-western instruments, including the Indian sitar. But Joy of It is still a folk-rock album, not a collection of world music. Folk-rock is Bird's area of expertise, and this 2002 release demonstrates that her skills remain sharp after 26 years of recording.

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