Vancouver-bred singer Colleen Rennison is one of those special forces of nature. A multi-talented individual who regularly appears in films and on television, Rennison burst onto the scene as a vocalist with blues-rock outfit No Sinner a couple of years ago, showcasing a set of pipes that few others possess at the age of 25, recalling the power and edge of legends like Etta James and Janis Joplin.
On See The Sky About To Rain, it’s Rennison’s more subdued side that takes centre stage. And perhaps it proves what we knew all along: Rennison is just as good in the shade as she is under the spotlight. Revisiting material by Leonard Cohen (Why Don’t You Try), The Band (Stage Fright), Joni Mitchell (the stunning Coyote) and Neil Young (on the album’s title track), Rennison uses her smoky, whiskey-soaked voice in myriad shades of Tennessee country, roots and blues.
Fittingly, Vancouverite-turned-Nashvillian Steve Dawson gives the album exactly the right touch of Americana, assisted by a core group of veteran players, including drummer Geoff Hicks, keyboardist Darryl Havers and bassist Jeremy Holmes. But it’s Rennison’s voice that really dominates the album.
Whereas No Sinner, whose full-length debut Boo Hoo Hoo is being released June 24, is the sonic equivalent of a booze-soaked biker gang rolling up Main Street looking for a pool hall brawl, on her own Rennison sounds like a wild prairie flower — swayed and swept by the wind, delicate yet strong.