Reviewer: Nicky Rossiter of on the web


Here we are in urban folk mode. Jenn Lindsay sings songs that reflect the modern city life on Uphill Both Ways. Her childlike voice on the wonderfully titled opening track will enchant the casual listener and make you stay for the full performance. "Brain" is a strong song that will make you think as well as listen. (It might gain from having the lyrics included on the insert.) One of the best songs on offer on the album has to be "Belong Alone." It has a great tune allied to well thought-out lyrics and is delivered to perfection. "Memphis" is another contender for best song of the album, with a strong beat that will have your fingers drumming along. For social comment attached to a familiar tune, you will not beat "House in New Orleans." This is the tale of the tragedy of that city when nature struck in the form of a flood and man failed in his duty of care, resulting in untold and unnecessary suffering. Lindsay has put it into a tale less than three minutes long but of lasting effect. Lindsay is at her best when she confronts the reality of life, and she does this again on "Christmas Song Part 2." All too often singers like this are sidelined because the powers that be are rarely comfortable with social comment expressed in mass media. This album has a number of tracks that need and deserve wider audiences.

JUNE 2003 REVIEW OF FIRED!: on the web Jenn Lindsay is unbelievable. Her biography notes refer to being raised by wolves on the moors in England. OK, so this is an attention getter -- she then admits to San Diego origins. I still think she is unbelievable -- in the best possible way. Here is a young lady playing guitar and bass, a one-time New York receptionist who can write and deliver modern folk music with the best. In reviewing an earlier CD, Gotta Lotta, I noted that if New York lost that receptionist, music would gain a star. I hope I did not precipitate something if her boss read it because her new CD is called Fired. She notes that it is a themed album about losing your job, hating your job and being bored with your job. Sadly, if economic trends continue, Lindsay's songs for the jobless, brave and indignant may get a wider audience than she would like. In just six tracks she grabs our attention and makes us consider what our existence is all about. Why are we defined by the job we do? The CD opens with "Paper," a tale of the end of a job that will resonate with anyone who has been there. "Shoo Fly Shoo" is a heartfelt song about working and what it can really mean in terms of your life. She gives us folk rapping on "Tick Tock." My favourite track is "You Not Me," a sad song that is sung in an upbeat manner belying the reality of how difficult it can be to make living. This is the track that could be featured on mainstream radio and make Lindsay the success she deserves. She is irreverent and self-deprecating, which may keep her from ever being a star. How many top stars would write, "wet soaks through my pants to my hundred thousand dollar brain"? This is a short CD but says more about modern life -- not just in New York -- than many lush production 20-track offerings. You can access the lyrics online, but you need to hear that voice to get the feeling behind the words. It may be difficult to buy, but try. It will encourage Lindsay to keep at this job, at least.

JANUARY 2003 REVIEW OF GOTTA LOTTA: on the web Jenn Lindsay is a new name and voice to me. From the publicity I gather that she is a receptionist and has busked the New York City subway system to finance this CD. She styles herself as Joni Mitchell with a dash of Ani DiFranco. She is definitely folk with a truckload of attitude and perhaps that's what folk needs. The lyrics are certainly fresh and there is a great deal of wit in among the strong words that Jenn uses to express herself. "Olly Olly Oxen Free" gives an idea of the stylish titles here. The lyrics are definitely new and of the modern world about men who "blow horns and pee" and life in the big city -- "I turned 45 when I turned 15." This is not a CD to buy as a Christmas gift for that maiden aunt -- but then again maybe this is how she thinks, too. "Athena" is another excellent track that is sung with feeling such as only a singer-songwriter can do. "I'm Not Going Home Yet" is a nice antidote to a lot of what was written in the aftermath of Sept. 11 for people living in the real world: "Things that matter on September 10th still matter like paying the rent." Jenn Lindsay will either scare everyone from moving to the big city or she will encourage every young rebel out there to get urbanized. "I Call Myself a Flower" is so atypical of her other songs it jars. It is a naive song of a young girl in love. But it is also a very good track. "Salvation Army" is the only track not written by the singer. It laments such things as all the clothes in the thrift store were designed for much thinner girls. The writer makes a fantastic saga out of what most people see as a shop filled with old clothes. Jenn sings it with heart and fervour. Jenn Lindsay is a scary singer; I would love to see her perform live but would be afraid of her picking on audience members who do not sing along. She brings a new raw edge to folk that Dylan and Baez brought to the scene in the 1960s. She looks sacred cows in the eye and does not blink. Her language is that of the street, of the people rather than of the radio and TV censor and her music benefits from it. But she can also offer the gentle song and if some of these were given the exposure that they deserve New York would be one receptionist short but the folk world would be one star richer. In order to avoid offence this CD should carry a parental advisory; some of the language may offend although it is sung in context and adds realism to the voice of a great performer. Keep going Jenn; you have the guts to make it and the talent to sustain it. If you dare, check out her home page.