Jenie Thai – Only the Moon / Nov 9 at Shell Theatre

by New Music Michael on October 24 2013

Jenie Thai - Debut Album Only the MoonJenie Thai’s debut album “Only the Moon” spends most of its journey dancing merrily between summer-fun-piano-pop and incredible basement-blues. The former, of course, I was expecting, based on the few times I’ve seen Jenie around town in the last couple years. Though, to be fair, once you listen to the lyrics, the “summer-fun” isn’t always about summer fun, if you know what I mean. “The half-eaten moon is mocking me”, for example, from “Lonely Tonight” – not exactly what I’d call “fun” – so maybe I need to tweak that description at some point in the future. But you get the idea.

As for the blues tracks, of which “So Lovely” might be the best example. She is so good at these, you can almost picture her in a smoky basement club in North Chicago, the smoke so thick you can barely make her out on stage. Jenie’s tickling the ivories, crooning into the biggest damned silver microphone you’ve ever seen, and there’s two beefy, grizzled African-American men in scruffy white beards playing bass and drums behind her, the bassist looking somewhat disinterested, the drummer with a couple of bottles of hard liquor on the floor next to his stool (her actual backing musicians are anything but, by the way).

And just when you have her pegged, well hang on to that for a second and let me tell you a tale. Not a fateful trip, fortunately, but I was driving around when first listening to the CD, the first piano-pop song requiring a bit of humming along, then the second song (the “So Lovely” noted above) dropping you into a basement blues club. And I’m thinking to myself, “man, she’s got some incredible range, but you know what would be cool is if she turned up the funk”, and then *BAM*, just like that, she drops the funk on the third track “Cold Throne”. Like, jaw-dropping out-the-other-side funk. And just for kicks, to prove her incredible range, she’s also included the epic-cinematic-pop masterpiece “Throw Down Your Love”, requiring you to hold your breath in its weighty anticipation.

And you know, I don’t like to throw the word phenom around, it’s a curse in the baseball and hockey worlds. But Jenie has such amazing talent and skill for someone of her age, that it honestly just makes you shake your head at the possibilities. Obviously she loves the type of music she makes, you can tell by the emotion coursing through her at live shows and you can feel it in the recorded music just as easily. But you also start to let your mind wander, what would it be like to see her front a shoegaze band? Or an alt-rock act? Or an alt-country-jam band akin to Wilco? I mean, I’m sure she could do anything she set her mind to. It would be an interesting one-off, that’s for sure.

The final thing that stands out are the photos in the CD packet. Bri Vos of Detour Photography did such an extraordinary job. Like, open-your-mouth-and-let-flies-fly-in good. I mean, so good that whenever a local act asks for a photographer recommendation I’m just going to say Bri Vos and be done with it. The lighting. The poses. The composition. The setting. Like, stand back and take a bow, Bri.

Back to Jenie, though. The best summary of this album, of her as an artist, would probably be what I just told my co-worker as I lent her the CD for the weekend because I think her daughter will absolutely fall in love with it – “one of the best pianists in the city, splitting time between smoky blues and elegant piano-pop”. And yes, I guess I do talk like that in real life too.

You can see Jenie Thai for yourself at various venues around the city, including this weekend, as Jenie Thai is opening for Vancouver duo The Harpoonist And the Axe Murderer this Friday night (October 25th) at The Artery. Other dates below.

Gig Itinerary

Oct 25 – Edmonton AB at The Artery (opening for The Harpoonist And the Ax Murderer)
Oct 27 – Calgary AB at Wine-Ohs! Bistro (Alberta Showcase Fundraiser 2pm)
Oct 27 – Edmonton AB at Old Timer’s Cabin (6pm)
Nov 09 – Fort Saskatchewan AB at Shell Theatre
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Previous post:

Next post: