Jennie Stearns is a classic American songwriter. By turns heartbreaking and hopeful, her songs are evocative, poignant and haunting. Quintessentially human. Her strong yet intimate vocal style and the vivid imagery portrayed by her lyrics gently draw the listener into her world. Despite the often sombre mood, you'll find yourself strangely at one with her perspective, akin to the intimate atmosphere of a late-night red-wine-confessional with a lifelong, much-loved friend. While her earlier albums (1998's 'Angel with a Broken Wing' and 2000's 'Mourning Dove Songs') displayed the influences of the country / old-time music scene in her adopted hometown of Ithaca, it is 'Sing Desire', her most recent release, that truly shows her blossoming talent. 'Sing Desire' ventures boldly into new musical territory, and it is this album that has garnered acclaim from press and radio as far afield as the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Japan. 'I've been drawn to dark and beautiful ballads ever since I was a kid. It's the sadness that I sense I'm somehow connected to. There's something soothing about the ballads, too, a desire to make everything ok', she says. And while 'Sing Desire' continues this obsession, it's tremendously adventurous in terms of it's arrangements and production. Stearns credits much of this to her co-producer, Chad Crumm, who she teamed up with for his huge library of archived sound as well as his formidable musicianship and production skills. Crumm set glinting accents of sampled sound and unexpected instruments against Stearns' low and lonesome vocals. Touches of spinet, muted cornet, moments of feedback, and even a lost fragment of an old Japanese television soundtrack add a sonic richness to her gentle singing without ever overshadowing it. The album also features Willie Watson (from band-of-the-moment Old Crow Medicine Show) singing two duets with Jennie. So far Jennie's albums have all been self-released, sold via her website and at shows - very much a one-woman (and friends) cottage industry. Now though, as her two children get a bit older, she's looking forward to concentrating a lot more on her music career and is working to ensure that her next album will have full US and European distribution, proper press / radio promotion and tour support. 'My next record is already nearly done,' she explains, 'and it's definitely the one I'm proudest of. Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Slaid Cleaves) is producing it and playing on it. He's been a pure pleasure to work with and so supportive.' Alongside Gurf, the album (provisionally titles 'Shattered Glass And Roses') also features drummer Rick Richards (Slaid Cleaves), and Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale singing on two tracks. 2005 should be the year that Jennie Stearns takes her place alongside the Americana heroines she's so often compared to. Additional Information: o The title track from 'Sing Desire' was chosen for Starbucks' 'Hear Music #8' compilation CD alongside the likes of Wilco, Norah Jones and Los Lobos. She's the only fully independent artist to have appeared on any of their compilations. Several of her other songs are currently on rotation in Starbucks stores across the US and Canada o 'Season Of Dreams' from 'Sing Desire' also on Paste magazine's Sampler #3 o The title track from 'Angel with a Broken Wing' appears on the We Are Each Other's Angels Vol 1 & 2 compilation CD (alongside June Carter Cash, Ron Sexsmith, Slaid Cleaves, Nanci Griffith, Iris Dement, and more) o Has appeared on releases by Madder Rose, Mary Lorson & Saint Low, Douglas September, Martin Simpson, Patti Witten, Donna The Buffalo, and on the 'Anathema' and 'Stray' movie soundtracks o Recorded a session / interview for Bob Harris' BBC 6 Music show. The award-winning tastemaker DJ also featured 'Sing Desire' on his BBC Radio 2 show. o Appeared live in session on Ray Wylie Hubbard's syndicated 'Roots & Branches live from Lone Star Music' radio show o Toured Europe three times (once with Johnny Dowd) including headlining at Amsterdam's famous Paradiso, and appearances at the prestigious Take Root Festival in Assen and the Heaven Americana Festival o Appeared live on the hit national Dutch TV show 'Barend & Van Dorp' (their equivalent of the 'David Letterman Show'), recorded a VPRO radio session, and received heavy national airplay throughout the Netherlands o Toured Iceland and receiving national radio airplay o Recently interviewed and filmed live performing two songs for an upcoming Dutch documentary film about murder ballads o Has supported Cowboy Junkies, Over the Rhine, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Case, Iris DeMent, Del McCoury Band, 10,000 Maniacs, Freedy Johnston, Erin McKeown, Slobberbone, The Damnations TX, Kelly Willis, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Merle Saunders, Joe Craven amongst many others QUOTES: 'Absolutely gorgeous' - Bob Harris BBC Radio 2 (UK) 'Jennie Stearns gently pierces the soul with this collection of great songs, making one wonder if Neil Young has a long lost kid sister he's not telling us about' - Linford Detweiler (Over the Rhine) 'I love her music and want to play on her next record' - Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson) 'I want to be Jennie Stearns touring drummer' - Tommy Larkins (Jonathan Richman) 'This CD is so full of character, it seems to have a life of it's own. It's an exquisite album, sensitive and strong; a debut with a lifetime's worth of classic, memorable songs' - Chuck Cuminale (Colorblind James Experience) 'Equipped with a fine band, dreamy vocals, and nice hummable tunes that are layered on deeper lyrics, Sing Desire is a flavorful collection of countrified folk that goes down easy' -The Village Voice (USA) 'The album sounds how it looks - like an ornate but balanced print of intertwined characters, clean, modern, and warm with the familiarity of sepia tones found on the cover in Stearns' quiet smile and poetic eyes. The album plays like a soundtrack to amber sunsets down winding dirt roads - poignant, nostalgic, and mellow, but always with a slow steady drive in the music behind her or in her voice. This subtle longing and edge in her calm voice narrates and makes one feel that one is within Stearns' perspective, looking through her mental photo album or conversations in her head as they are shared and heard' - Ithaca Times (USA) 'Earthy and ethereal; you could say it's new folk from the Americana highway to heaven' - Miles of Music (USA) 'Some artists try to grab your attention through raucous abandon; others weave a dreamy spell that draws you in through more subtle means. Jennie Stearns falls squarely into the latter category' - Performing Songwriter (USA) 'Sing Desire is a masterpiece of poetic ballads and sweet waltzes' - Women Who Rock magazine (USA) 'Stearns brought her quiet crystalline voice to intimate songs that flower through the details of the lives of the people she sings about' - Dirty Linen (USA) 'It's sweet, softly caressing music is disarmingly poignant and free. Stearns and her band are adept at creating a sound and mood that readily eases the mind and soul, showcasing a glowing talent' - Chartattack.com (Canada) 'Jennie Stearns writes late-night country-tinged songs that have a habit of getting into the brain and staying there for a very long time. Highly recommended' - fRoots magazine (UK) 'Stearns is a singer songwriter in the finest traditions; with a voice that carries a lightly fractured beauty that can melt hearts while withholding enough grit to make her point when called upon. Specialising in dreamy ballads and bluegrass founded shuffles, she enters the country music world big time with her latest offering 'Sing Desire'. This is an excellent album, full of emotion, passion and tender melodies that should rightly place Jennie Stearns up on the same pedestal as her better known contemporaries' - Altcountrytab.com (UK) 'Stearns' breathily caressing vocals, the sound of autumn leaves, corn husks and dirt streams washing over children's' feet, ease dreamily through moods of wistful sadness on the simple Shades of Blue with it's hymnal harmonium, a slow waltzing Too Close, the gorgeous reverie that is You Save Me and the earthy yet ethereal title track, while County Road, Sleeping and the desert dusk atmospheres of Whisper find her in more musically energised form. Highly desirable' - NetRhythms.co.UK (UK) 'Sing Desire is one of the most creative and thoughtfully constructed singer/songwriter albums to come our way over the past few years, and one that really stands out from the pack. Highly recommended' - Fish Records (UK) 'Sing Desire is definitely worthy of your attention and time' - Americana-UK.com (UK) 'Jennie Stearns must be the best kept secret of alt. Country' - Ctrl.Altcountry (Holland) 'Jennie Stearns is the name of The Americana discovery of this spring' - OOR Magazine (Holland) 'Even after 8 hours of music you could hear a pin drop during her midnight performance. Lucinda williams and Emmylou Harris may soon have a new colleague to welcome to the division which until today they have held as the undisputed Queens. The throne succesor is known... Jennie Stearns' - Rootstown Freezine (Holland) 'Not easily available, but I assure you that you'll be greatly rewarded by your efforts' - RootsHighway (Italy) ------------------ DISCOGRAPHY *Sing Desire (2002) HearMusic Vol. 8 : Between Stories (Starbucks compilation, 2002) Anathema movie soundtrack (2002) *Tin Roof Mystery (re release)/Live in Buffalo: Rich & Jennie Stearns (2000) *Mourning Dove Songs (2000) *Angel with a Broken Wing (1998) *Running with Scissors: Live at the Rongo (1996) Tin Roof (cassette, 1994) White Tape: Donna The Buffalo (cassette, 1989) We Are Each Other's Angels vol 1 & 2 Nov 03 (Compilation) supporting 'Hungry for music' with June Carter Cash, Ron Sexmith, Slaid Cleeves, Nancy Griffith, Iris Dement, and more. Paste Sampler #3 (National Music Magazine) Nov 03.
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