Album: Song In Me
Label: Self Released
This is the fifth solo album from Jessica Rhaye, and she describes what she wanted to achieve with ‘Song in Me’ as a return to her folk/country roots, with a greater maturity and a warm live feel and perhaps a slightly more raw sound. She writes on her website “I like that bit of grit-it’s more true”. Well, all her wishes came true when this album was recorded in the living room of her producer’s Nova Scotia country house. This is her first collaboration with Dale Murray, and any listen to ‘Song in Me’ will raise hopes that they will work together again.
There are seven original songs, and a very superior cover of ‘Good to be Alive in the Country’ originally composed by Ken Tobias that could well describe her hometown of Hampton, New Brunswick, which is spoken of on her website as ‘a postcard-pretty community of farms, fields and forests’. A quick internet search, and yep, it sure is! So to her trademark folk and Americana style of music can now be added a really fine country sound, and some of the songs on this album would be very much at home in Nashville.
The opening track, titled ‘Crash and Burn’ is a superb acoustic guitar and vocals led song that is an immediate introduction to that country music feel and with fine lyrics, ‘Never thought those city nights, with its’ neon lights and silent cries, could keep me warm turns out I was wrong. Got you in my pocket, I’ve got you in my heart, leaving wasn’t easy that’s why it took so long.’ A great start to an album, and the second song ‘Sun Will Shine For You’ is also a gem.
‘My World’ is a quiet acoustic song that really showcases the quality of Jessica’s voice, a real masterclass in how a singer can ‘tell’ a story, and if songs can be likened to gems ‘My World’ is a diamond, very much into goose bumps territory, fabulous. A few bars into ‘Time Will Only Heal Your Broken Heart’ and the quality of the music brings back memories of years ago breaking the piggy bank and rushing off to that thing of wonder, the Record Shop to buy the newest release. These days with digital downloading, no rushing is necessary and just a couple of clicks will bring an album into our possession. But if you wish, buy a cheap piggy bank and smash it just to get a little of that retro feel!
The last and title track ‘Song in Me’ is a wonderful finish for the eight track album, a very soulful song which again highlights Jessica’s vocal skills and towards the end rises to a beautiful crescendo, and then drops to an exquisite quiet finale of just guitar, piano, and the words ‘I’ve got a song in me, I’m going to set it free’. Oh, yes indeed, and not just one but seven fine songs and a fine cover.
Eight tracks is relatively short for an album, and such is the standard of the music the listener might be left wishing there were a couple more tracks, but to quote the founder of what was known as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, P.T.Barnum… ‘Always leave them wanting more’. So it’s with anticipation that as Jessica works at her craft and explores new horizons in her work, her next album will add even more facets to a gem that already sparkles so brightly.