Jenny Whiteley’s experienced a lot of heartbreak lately.
But don’t feel badly for her. It’s not like the singer/songwriter’s marriage to hubby Joey Wright is on the rocks or she’s been caught texting Tiger Woods, but because it’s one of her favourite subjects to write about.
Despair, drama, tears, sex, love and loneliness. Yes, for a songwriter, heartbreak’s got it all. It’s a songwriter’s dream. Which is why it’s the focus of Whiteley’s latest album Forgive and Forget.
You can practically hear her sing, “I’ve looked at love from 10 sides now.”
“It’s an inescapable part of the human condition to have your heart broken,” Whiteley says en route to Montreal, where the two-time Juno Award-winner is going to have a romantic weekend. “Everyone feels that elation and loss sometime in their life, including the Dalai Lama.”
The truth be told, Whiteley’s been writing about little else on a trilogy of albums that began in 2003 with Hopetown, picked up speed in 2006 with Dear before heading home with her latest recording Forgive and Forget.
Produced by Steve Dawson, the lineup of all-star players includes John Raham from the Be Good Tanyas on drums, Darren Paris on bass, Dawson on steel and husband Wright on guitar and mandolin.
“Ten songs in four years. I’m not the fastest songwriter around, but exploring the minutiae of human relationships is what I’ve been most interested in. I’m in love and excited to write about it. It may be easier to write about sad things, but I want to write about the sweet side of the family and how it’s great to be with someone who reflects you better than you reflect yourself.
“A good partner is like a mirror,” she adds. “You can see yourself in them. It’s great to be with someone who shows you a better version of yourself than the harsh image I see when I look at myself.”
On the surface, Whiteley and Wright seem to have the ideal relationship. However, having two kids aged two and six means that the couple rarely get the chance to play together.
“Someone has to stay home with the kids,” she laughs sadly.
That’s not a hardship for Whitely. The daughter of blues musician Chris Whiteley and niece to children’s artist Ken Whiteley, Jenny began her career as one of the kids on Raffi’s Baby Beluga album. Her brother Dan plays in her band.
“I feel so fortunate to do what I love to do for a living.”