As a kid growing up in Toronto, Jenny Whiteley didn’t have to travel far to hear good music. On the contrary—concerts would frequently spring up right in her own living room thanks to Chris and Ken Whiteley, her father and uncle, who formed the Original Sloth Band, a jug band popular in the Canadian roots scene. Jenny and her brother weren’t content to stay spectators, and soon joined up with the older generation to form the Junior Jug Band. Besides a collegiate detour, once she got bit by the performing bug, there was no looking back. In 2000 she finally struck out on her own as a solo artist, recording and co-producing a self-titled solo debut that went on to win the Juno Award for Roots Traditional Album of the year. Three years later, her follow up record, Hopetown, scored her another Juno Award for Roots Album of the year. Over a decade later, with several albums in between, the now Ontario based singer/songwriter is gearing up to release The Original Jenny Whiteley via Black Hen Music on September 16th. Recorded in Hugh Christopher Brown’s Wolfe Island Post Office Studio with producer/musician Sam Allison and Teillard Frost (Sheesham and Lotus), the album is like a musical memoir, a mix of both originals and songs that pay homage to Jenny’s heritage from folk, blues, bluegrass and jug band to old time and early jazz.
Today, Elmore is premiering the video for “Morning Blues,” a traditional tune by Uncle Dave Macon that Jenny learned as a kid playing with her father and uncle. The video, which was created and directed by Ali Eisner, is a very simple concept, just Whiteley in a dressed down blue plaid shirt playing her acoustic guitar and singing. But from the lush woods that frame her to the barking dogs in the background that cause her to smirk as she sings, it all bolsters the folksy, down-home feel of the track itself—completely unpretentious and noncommercial. And what Whiteley lacks in production budget, she makes up for in her big, rich sound. She mixes a throaty vibrato with gentle high notes, interspersing the ditty with trumpet sounds.