The Jenkins

The Jenkins

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The obvious thing to say about the Jenkins' self-titled debut album is that the mother-and-daughters trio are being packaged as a cross between the Judds and the Dixie Chicks. In practice, they are much more in the style of the former than the latter. True, producer Rodney Crowell has given the music a sharp, acoustic country style reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks, with fiddles, dobros, and mandolins getting prominent space along with the strummed acoustic guitars and a small drum kit. But the Judds were no strangers to that sound, either, at least at first. And alternating teenage lead singers Kacie and Brodie Jenkins seem to have listened carefully to Wynonna Judd for their vocal interpretations, giving a soulful edge to their country twang. Mother Nancy Jenkins, who gets co-songwriting credits on six of the ten songs, has created and assembled material meant to emphasize her daughters' youth. The songs are all about family, starting with the lead-off track, "God Only Knows," concerning the singers' grandfather, and continuing with songs addressed to a mother ("He Feels Like Home") and father ("Lovestruck"), plus the first single, "Blame It on Mama," which introduces the singers not as native Southerners (they're from Sebastopol, CA), but as having had country music bred into to them by their mother (who, of course, also wrote the song). Not surprisingly, Kacie and Brodie are most convincing when singing idealistically about young love, but they are, so far, more concerned with technique than any similitude of real feeling. Actually, they are often better at songs that don't sound specifically crafted to their persona, particularly the terrific "Getaway Car" (previously recorded by Susan Ashton, Dakota Moon, and Hall & Oates) and Crowell's "My Baby's Kiss," neither of which come from their mother's pen, and that bodes well.

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