Colleen Rennison listened to her inner voice and made her solo album.
It wasn’t the ideal time to release See The Sky About To Rain. Her better-known band, No Sinner, was due to release its Boo Hoo Hoo on June 24, and here she was with an album of her own that could be a mighty distraction by splitting her — and the public’s — attention. However, the original Boo Hoo Hoo EP was two years old and Rennison was committed to her LP.
Boo Hoo Hoo was boosted to a full-length album with the addition of new tracks and launched worldwide with a new date that was bound to clash with See The Sky About To Rain. Rennison just sighs and says “You learn.”
She’s also learning to juggle. The original Boo Hoo Hoo is now two years old, during which time No Sinner became known as an exciting blues-rock band and Rennison as a raunchy belter. It was past time for No Sinner to release the updated Boo Hoo Hoo and avoid its own boredom.
At the same time, See The Sky allows Rennison to show her depth and breadth as a singer by interpreting a collection of roots-based songs. These include All La Glory and Stage Fright by The Band, Coyote by Joni Mitchell, the title track by Neil Young and lesser-known titles that meant a lot to her growing up.
“The solo album is really personal to me,” Rennison said. “All the songs made me cry. The solo album is sort of me listening to my inner voice. I just knew it would be a chance to sing some of my favourite songs.”
She made demos with guitarist/producer Steve Dawson before he moved his studio and family to Nashville.
“That was fun, trying to find songs that were fitting rather than obvious,” she said. “To be honest, once we did the demos, I didn’t listen to the original versions.
“It was a delicate dance and it took a long time to choose the right song. This has been a careful process.”
Her and Dawson’s care has resulted in an album that mixes the familiar and obscure, the bluesy and the country, and speaks well of her ability to interpret.
An actress before No Sinner, Rennison was able to envision each song as a role to play.
“I did kind of think of it as a play,” she conceded. “The actor finds the truth inside it as it applies to them. It was very helpful. In the acting world, where I come from, you take what is helpful to you. It’s finding the truth and making it real for you.
“It’s the inner voice. This album was something to do for myself. I wanted the songs to be right. There are so many great songs out there and, really, I’m a singer.”