Jen Ord’s debut release, ‘Many’s A Mile’(May 15, 2012)
Have you heard of Jen Ord? If not, I wager you soon will. And once you do you’ll want to hear a lot more from this Cumbrian-born singer and musician. I do. Jen Ord’s debut release, ‘Many’s A Mile’ is out on May 28th and if you feel any affection for English folk then do yourself a huge favour and buy a copy. The only downside is Jen provides just four songs to savour on the EP. Hopefully an album is not too far distant.
Despite the sparse content of four songs, there is almost too much to assimilate on first hearing. For starters there’s Jen’s voice. ‘Pure’ is a much overused word to describe vocals, not here. Jen’s voice is as pure and clear as early dawn-light or fragile dew on a spring morning. And the tender inflected expression she adds to each song to convey their story is breathtaking. She creates within each one a clean unadulterated presence that expresses the message and pulls you into its distinctive embrace. The musical arrangements too are magical. They unadulterated yet multilayered, silky pools of sound to envelope you and soothe their way into your psyche.
The opening rendition of the traditional English folk ballad ‘The Cuckoo’ builds on a combination of vocals, keyboard and strings that position this version up there with the best I’ve heard. The fragile intensity of ‘Live Not Where I Love’ makes clear Jen’s ability to tell a story – this song is simply delicious. While Jen’s narrative skill is further reflected in the stark desolation of ‘Song Of A Drinking Man’s Wife’ as she imparts its wretched tale.
This is a debut accomplishment that you have to hear. It deserves significant recognition and I for one recommend it without reservation. ‘Many’s A Mile’ is available on Haystack Records HAYC002 (www.haystackrecords.co.uk)
On ‘Many’s A Mile’ Jen plays piano and whistle; joining in the attraction are Kath Ord (fiddle) Heather Hood (backing vocals) Dan Rogers (double bass) Dan Wilde (acoustic guitar) and Cheryl Gaudiano, Sian Stuart, Simon Denton (strings).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll