Sing Out Magazine
Jenny Whiteley has been one of the great success stories on the Canadian folk scene in recent years. Her self-titled debut album released in 2000, won the Juno Award – the Junos are the Canadian Version of the Grammys – for best roots/traditional album by a solo artist. So did Hopetown, her second album from 2004. Now, the daughter of noted folk/country/blues/jazz musician Chris Whiteley, and the niece of equally eclectic Ken Whiteley, returns with a third fine album whose songs mainly encompass folk, rootsy pop and alt-country influences.
Jenny is a very good songwriter. Among the highlights on this CD is “Banjo Girl,” an irresistible old-timey romp featuring some great clawhammer banjo playing by Chris Coole, harmony vocals by Joey Wright, who is her husband, and mandolin playing by Dan Whitely, her brother. Another is “Other Side of Life,” a classic sounding country duet with Canadian blues singer Jim Byrnes. Perhaps my favorite, though, is the album’s closer, “When It Rains I Pour,” a heart-breaker that Jenny delivers perfectly before the studio musicians, led by producer Steve Dawson, bring up the tempo in multi-tracked jam session ending that does not detract at all from the song itself.
Along with her own songs, Jenny also offers a nice version of “Heart of Gold,” an early-1980s song written by Ray Davies of the Kinks and her father’s Take Your Time and Do It Right,” a song that’s been a folk favorite in Canada for many years.
-MR, Vol. 51 #1 Page 116