Girls Who Cry Need Cake
Ohio to Kentucky to London to New York to Sydney, Australia. Jet setter? Army brat? Nope, just a girl who follows her whims and let's the the world wash over her. What's the musical result of this diversity? Her debut album, Girls Who Cry Need Cake. It's a country-rolled, indie rock, heart-broken, heart-breaking down under and down home vibe. 'Well that doesn't explain it at all!' says Jenny Queen. 'It's more like this: I have always loved Gram Parsons and Lucinda Williams, but then in London I had a crush on Hope Sandoval - her voice is just hypnotic. When I lived in NYC I traipsed all over the Lower East Side, catching Elliot Smith at Brownie's (Heatmiser shows) or watching Ryan Adams putting away the Pabst at Lakeside Lounge. They became huge musical influences. And in Australia, Casey Chambers and lesser-known writers like the amazing Jason Walker have given me lyrical inspiration.' Jenny's are songs that combine a youthful naivety with an almost world-weary sensibility, sung with a passion so rarely found these days, that magical sense that suggests the events portrayed happened a milli-second before the singer entered the studio to record. Musically the fit is just perfect with the voice. There's no heavy-handed overplaying, just understated notes and chords right where they're meant to be. It's a record that teases, embraces and ultimately haunts the listener with it's resonance and spirit. Hooking up with Tony Buchen, a muti-talented emerging producer, best known for playing in the Sydney drum and bass outfit, The Baggsmen (formerly The Hive), gave Jenny that slightly off-kilter sensibility she was looking for. 'Tony was an unusual choice for a producer on my record because he doesn't really have a background in alt-country or roots-rock, or whatever, and his background is so different from my own. But he was the perfect call; he brought an entirely fresh perspective to what seems to be turning into a cookie-cutter genre. I just told him, 'think 1970's California Gold', and he was off!' The musicians on the album come from all over the globe. Many of the players were visiting friends from overseas who happened to be in Sydney at the right time and were willing to play for a few beers. 'I think the eclectic group of musicians on the album really help keep that 'different yet familiar thing' I was going for with the album's sound.' 'I'll Bring the pills if you bring the wine/ we'll run her until we cross the state line,' is a lyric that offers an insiders view of the restless desperation to escape the confines of rural America, where Jenny grew up. 'Springsteen was such an important artist for me growing up. He tells stories. No one does that anymore. And they meant so much to me because this is the world I lived in. Always trying to get to someplace better. And I guess I still am. I mean, I'm in Australia, aren't I?' Now, Jenny Queen takes listeners on a journey - to the places where girls who cry get their cake and eat it too. You bring the wine...she's got the rest covered. PRESS: 'Farm girl Jenny Queen from rural Ohio and backwoods Kentucky travelled half-way across the world to Sydney, Australia to record this debut album. The long trip has proved to be more than worthwhile as this is one peach of a record. Produced by Tony Buchen, best known as a member of Sydney drum-and-bass outfit the Baggsmen, there are almost too many stylistic ideas at once here, but Jenny's kindly singing personality and spot-on ear for enjoyable country-folk-pop finally hold the album together with compassion and imagination. With a compelling crop of poignant parables of the heart she comes across as innocent and vulnerable, yet with a certain worldliness unusual in one so new. The opening I'm Drowning is a memorable getting-over-a-relationship song with a haunting, slightly downbeat vibe that is quite irresistible. Other entries of note include the reflective Due South, country-pop flavoured 66 Days; the string-enhanced Lullabye For A Ghost with atmospheric Dobro and cello; and a country-rock effort in Kentucky Turn, a drinking song with a timeless mix of West Coast and bluegrass that works just about right. Though the songs don't always achieve their lofty aspirations of American introspection, Jenny does a striking job reaching as far as she does. Pitched loosely at the alt. Country scene, this is possibly too accessible for that genre and if given the right kind of marketing budget and with a little bit of luck with the ears that matter at BBC Radio 2 or even some of the commercial stations, Jenny Queen could easily make a major UK breakthrough. GIRLS WHO CRY NEED CAKE is a nearly perfect late-summer record: It may not cool you off, but it'll sure give you a reason to enjoy the heat.' **** - Maverick (UK) 'Jenny Queen certainly has the sultry looks that made Shelby Lynne a genre pin-up. She has a fine voice too, as her debut 'Girls Who Cry Need Cake shows. A little more of the Lucinda Williams grit would certainly have helped, but a stunning cover of 'Moby's 'Porcelain' is a definite winner.' - Classic Rock (UK) 'She looks like Catalina, but has to be imbued with far more common sense. Surely the album title says enough, and she has the sweetest lilt in her voice to draw you in. It's a voice of 'youthful naivety with almost world-weary sensibility', as her very own PR sums it up, for once saying it all. That she writes her lyrics on rainy days in Sydney can also explain the bittersweet, reflective motif of sadness that carries through much of this. But it's a lovely, good sadness that only cheers one up. That she can apparently drink men under the table means I just want to meet up with her real soon.' - LAM Magazine (UK) 'Jenny Queen is a singer and songwriter from Australia by way of Kentucky whose debut album, Girls Who Cry Need Cake, reveals a talented writer capable of deftly straddling the Great Divide between roots-pop and contemporary country. Queen is an intriguing singer, blessed with a pure voice capable of conveying the most subtle shift in emotion. Her songs are long on melody - the opening track should, by all rights, be a hit single - and convey an accomplished writer's eye for detail. Such songs about broken romance as '66 Days,' 'Lullabye For A Ghost' and 'Due South' avoid cliches to revel in the sort of narrative twists and turns more common to smartly written short stories. The production is toned just right, down-home enough to illuminate the glimmers of country gold hidden within the tunes, but contemporary enough to support the clinging pop hooks and smart narrative that carry Queen's songs to a place all her own. It's a fine album, and proof, yet again, that Nashville continues to look for love in all the wrong places.' 3 / 4 - Winston-Salem Journal 'Jenny's journey as a singer/songwriter is as improbable as this album's title - originally from Ohio, she now plies her trade in Sydney having stopped off in London and New York en route. This journey has helped produce a singer/songwriter who has elements of both country and folk in her music, and who stands out against her obvious North American contemporaries. Stylistically she sits comfortably between Patty Griffin and Kathleen Edwards, a little alt-country but with the understated approach of a folky singer/songwriter, and she strikes the perfect balance with subtle country elements and an open, uncluttered sound that let's the melodies and sharp narratives stand out. This understated and confident feel is continued in her delivery, there are no grand gestures or vocal affectations, and her voice is rich and strong but with a slightly melancholic and fragile edge that is perfect for this material. There's a subtlety and lightness of touch throughout the disc, and the production is exceptionally good - in general things are kept beautifully simple even where other producers may have opted for a more bombastic approach. The opening track is a perfect example of this; it's a strong song with real radio potential that has obviously had time spent on it, and while it's rich in texture with Wurlitzer, dobro and numerous guitars providing the musical backing it never feels overblown. This considered restraint continues throughout and results in songs that develop and build with instrumental layers (including guitars, various organs, accordion and strings); this gives the songs room to breathe and the lyrics the space they deserve. This approach turns the albums strongest song 'Due South' into a stunning piece - it's a kiss-off song filled with restrained anger and elegance in equal parts, it's a beautifully measured and controlled song with exceptional performances from all involved. Elsewhere it's full of pop hooks and smart lyrics, and has standout tracks littered throughout, and the balance between instant melodies, great playing and descriptive lyrics is highlighted on '66 Days' and 'Maybe the Moon'. 'Girls Who Cry Need Cake' is a gem of a disc that works on every level - it has excellent songwriting with sharp lyrics, great hooks and an unforced and relaxed atmosphere. Undoubtedly one of the best discs of the year - not to be missed.' - fishrecords. Co.UK 'We've come to expect any album released under the Laughing Outlaw banner to be something special by now. But there is a pattern emerging. Out of all the small gems they release each year (and there have been many) there is always one which shines that little bit more, which stands head and shoulders above everything else released that year; previous winners of this honour have been the Hired Guns and Spike Priggen. This year it's obviously Ohio born but Sydney-based Jenny Queen. Any record label, not just Laughing Outlaw, is going to have to really come up with something special if Jenny's debut album is to be beaten from the number one spot at the end of year top albums list. It's the voice which strikes home first. It's so familiar but so hard to pin point exactly where it's been heard before. There are so many female vocalists treading the same boards as Jenny right now; that Americana folk/ country sound with a smooth pop element but this really is the album which glows strongest amongst them all. It's got everything that is missing from it's contemporaries and a voice that can, and has, melted hearts. There's innocence and naivety to it, the closest comparison is probably that of 10,000 Maniacs Natalie Merchant but even that doesn't do it the justice it deserves. But that naivety is misleading. One listen to Jenny's lyrics shows that this girl has had a few knocks in her life and she has a neat way of articulating them into strong, melodic songs. She's a storyteller and her nearest contemporary lyrically would have to be Lucinda Williams. It's almost frightening to think, that as Williams is now turning out her best work to date (along with Emmylou Harris) at an age when most female singer/songwriters are past their peak, what the younger Queen will be coming up with in years to come. This album is, quite frankly, far too good to be a debut. This sounds like the work of someone who has worked at their art for years. Maybe she has. In that case it's a crime that it's taken so long for Jenny to get a record deal. For every female singer/songwriter who has made it to the first division (Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams) there are twice as many who are still struggling to get the recognition they deserve although their fan base is growing with every release (Amy Rigby, Lucy Kaplansky) and for every one of those they are dozens more struggling to get any recognition at all (Erica Smith, Dawn Kinnard, the list is almost endless). On the showing of this debut album Jenny Queen is going to fly straight into that first division. There is little doubt that her career that is going to take off with this album. It's not going to be three albums in before people sit up and take notice, this is the one to do it. Queen has it all. That voice which is so impressive, the lyrics which belie her youthful looks, the way she can pull a stunning melody so effortlessly out of the air (with 9 co-writes on offer here it seems that way at least) and the neat package Laughing Outlaw has dressed the album in. Queen is very photogenic and the cover shot of her sitting in a corner surrounded by cake and balloons looking lost, lonely and abandoned sums up the contents of the album. The 'Nudie's' clothing label in the inlay. The best logo Laughing Outlaw have come up with yet on the actual CD. It all adds up to an exceptional package. It all feels, and looks, so right. With the exception of one cover version Queen wrote all of the lyrics on the album, with co-composer Sam Shinazzi (who wrote all of the music with Queen) helping out on a couple of songs lyrically and on one song, '66 Days', which we will return to later, Chris Newton and Scott Collins have a hand in both music and lyrics. Normally on an album which has it's roots in country / folk it's either the lyrics which are particularly strong or the melodies. It's rare to hear an album where, on first listen, both the lyrics and melodies capture the attention from the off. From the very first track, 'Drowning Slowly', which opens with what sounds like some backwards guitar but is probably something else, it's obvious we've stumbled onto something special. When those vocals come in, sounding hurt and bruised on this tale of lost love and finding solace in the rain they are nothing more than stunning. It's like this is the album all those who have a weakness for female singer / songwriters have been waiting for. There's the right amount of that pop element mixed in with the country feel. It just feels so right. The production by Tony Buchen (from the unlikely source of Sydney drum and bass outfit The Baggsmen) is spot on. It was an inspired but unusual choice of producer but Buchen has graced these songs with a sympathetic production. The songs are not over produced but certainly not stripped right back either and thankfully there are no vocal histrionics from Queen. The line in that first track where Queen sings 'I hear you've got a new girl, and she's not a thing like me' is heartbreaking. It's touches like that where Buchen's production really shines. There's no fussy backing to take away the impact of those words. The music all but fades during those lines and it has a stunning effect. It's not just the first track which is amazing either. The second song, 'Due South' with it's theme of lovers who are going to run away from it all until it goes wrong is just as strong lyrically and is blessed with another gorgeous melody. From what I can tell Queen is 26 or thereabouts and it would be difficult (not least given her looks!) to believe that these songs are autobiographical. Over acoustic guitar the song opens with Queen again sounding understandably hurt singing 'And that time your girlfriend showed up, so you made me hide in a back room'. Has the girl really been given a bad deal by so many men? It's seems unlikely but true or not, Queen will have you believing the stories in her songs and you'll always end up on her side. This song must rate as one of the most touching and beautiful love gone wrong songs of all time. While driving away to find that place 'where everything feels okay' Queen sounds so wounded as she sings lines like 'You never offered me directions while you were screwing up my life' and 'I can't remember how everything broke down, I suppose in the usual way' it's enough to make the hardest heart melt. The aforementioned '66 Days' appears as track 3 and if I really had to choose just one track as the highlight of this album, at the time of writing at least, this would be the one. It would be a difficult choice as really all the songs are so strong and there is no filler on this album but with the warm sound of the Hammond B3 and Queen's multi-tracked vocals sounding like a choir of angels on the chorus of 'So this is how it feels to know it's really over' it really is stunning. Again as the music drops away from the last few times Queen sings that line you know she is right; this is how it feels. The following song, 'Lullabye For A Ghost', is a slight change from the previous tracks. Taken at a slower pace and with strings and 'junk percussion' adding to the atmosphere, Jenny's vocals this time, although still clear, have a sadness to them, she almost mumbles the tale about being left on her own again but this time with a twist, with the ghost in her house not sleeping she's certainly 'not lonely no more'. Next up is the cover version; Moby's 'Porcelain'. As with the choice of producer it's a totally unexpected selection. And again, it works. It shouldn't, a Moby song covered on what could be classed an. Alt. Country album, should be a disaster but Queen makes it her own and with Buchen's inspired production and some lovely dobro from John Carr the track really is transformed into a thing of beauty. As I said, all the songs are stunning and deserve a mention but the sparse, acoustic ballad 'Between The Riverbank And The Highway', a poignant tale of homesickness, 'Sometimes I go walking by myself and make believe I'm somewhere else', is particularly touching and shows another side to the talents of Queen as does the closing song, 'Ten Feet Tall'. With just piano and cello, courtesy of Deepika Bryant, Queen sounds like she is falling apart 'And I feel like I'm nothing at all' ... 'And I wonder do you miss me?' delivered in that hurt and affecting voice. The strangest thing about this album is that although for the main part the songs deal with loves lost and being somewhere one doesn't want to be and despite the fact that Queen does have that naivety and pain in her voice she doesn't come across as being fragile. One gets the impression that she's a tough cookie that you wouldn't particularly want to cross which is curious given the nature of the songs. If the overcrowded female singer / songwriter genre is beginning to lose some of it's attraction for you then give Jenny Queen's debut a listen. But be prepared to fall in love, this girl has got it all.' - Pennyblack Music Website 'We all know her; the out-of-towner, blown in on the interstate via a bad wind from the south. She's the one with the stories, an unhealthy tolerance of dark liquor, the killer smile and the beaten Datsun full of vintage mix tapes. She'll make your week, improve the scenery, make you cry and f*** you up. She's a lonely dreamer's dream, Daphne in trailer-trash garb with a Dixieland drawl, fleeing as daybreak creeps in your window. An Ohio native, Jenny Queen is the girl from out-of-town assailing the burgeoning Sydney alt-country scene, ably assisted by a phalanx of Sydney's best country talent and kindred spirit Sam Shinazzi (C-Minus Project) helping out on co-writing duties. 'Girls Who Cry Need Cake' is Queen's first tear-stained postcard home from her current Sydney residence, a spirited, composed, deliciously harrowing set of alt-country tunes delivered like Lucinda Williams vomiting out the window of one of Bruce Springsteen's souped-up suburban get-away cars after hitting the moonshine in Maria McKee's Sunday dress. The churning acoustic riff, Wurlitzer and tastefully employed slide-guitar of opener 'Drowning Slowly' sets the tone. 'I'm drowning, slowly/ with my feet here on dry land,' sighs Queen, her voice a study in dulcet understatement; Shinazzi's influence is clear in the lack of histrionics and showiness in Queen's delivery. Instead she opts for a stung murmur, achieving a balance between vulnerable girlishness and the command of a stronger femininity. 'I hear you've got a new girl and she's not a bit like me/ not the kind to dwell on shadows, like your old Miss Misery,' she sings without hint of Nashville hat-country emoting, refusing to blow this torch-song up in pyrotechnic garishness. It's this lack of big gestures that gives Queen's voice and the songs their bare power, focusing instead on building melodies in gradual, layered fashion (helped by Tony Buchen's always balanced production) so as to produce a more lasting emotional impact. 'Due South' builds from frail acoustic guitar, soft as the breeze blowing over the wheat fields, rattling their husks empty as Queen motors past, the ghost of an ex-lover on the passenger's side providing disconcerting company; 'so I'll bring the pills if you bring the wine/ we'll run her until we cross the state line,' she coos in an insouciant flutter, unfathomably beautiful in it's wretched dysfunction. 'I never asked any questions/ I just put the car in drive/ you never offered me directions/ while you were screwing up my life/ screwing up my life,' she continues in an effortlessly gliding middle-eight, the road dropping out beneath her, a defiant mix of heartbreak, resignation and wry resolve. It's a sense compounded by Queen's jaded last verse, the universe collapsing back into order in the arrangement's dystrophy, leaving nothing but voice and guitar; 'I don't know how everything broke down/ I suppose in the usual way/ lovers just leave, we continue to breathe/ and everything is okay'. It's a kiss-off riddled with pathos and a fiery grace, immense in it's beatific shot of youthful blindness and mislaid faith. It is the album's peak, a song to return to you at the fag-end of all those lonely nights spent in the shadows cast by those who so effortlessly let you down. The varying pace Queen employs throughout 'Girls Who Cry ...' helps compound the sense of movement and broaden the album's tonal palette. The slower 'Lullabye for a Ghost' creaks like your grandma's rocking chair, a dusky solitude emitting from Queen's croaking vocal and Ivan Jordan's brushed cymbals, while 'Kentucky Turn' returns to the bottle in a full-throttle country stomp, a glowing acoustic riff ignited by Jordan's drumwork, spindling organs and slowly turning banjo. 'The devil may care about your rambling ways/ but the rest of us just might/ and all the moonshine in the state/ can't brighten up this cold, cold dark night,' sings Queen with a shot of humour to help the bourbon down - and indeed while the moonshine can't do the job the music most certainly can. Meanwhile 'Between the Riverbank and the Highway' forsakes the album's propulsive sense of movement for gently strummed homesickness, dreaming of the roads back home and the friends who haunted them, but can't hitch a ride on Queen's current lonely journey. 'End of the Line' treads a shimmering line in countrified pop, but diminishes the record's dynamic edge by playing too close to the well-worn path, while 'Maybe the Moon' kicks any lingering monotony to the curb with it's clipped melodic twists and the twining of Queen's voice and a Hammond organ. It's left to closer '10 Feet Tall' to close proceedings in compelling fashion, recasting Joni Mitchell's 'River' in a battered dustbowl bungalow, Queen singing as though trying to break through the sheer weight of unending night. 'It's midnight, house is empty/ It's midnight, and I wonder do you miss me?/ And I feel like I'm ten feet tall/ And I feel like I'm nothing at all,' sings Queen into the growing dark with soul enough to fill the universe which is swallowing her up. 'Lay me down,' she murmurs, as much of a lyrical death rattle as expression of pure yearning, embracing one's final destination in the cold, cold ground, a final whimper for the contemporary gothic tragedy which it crowns. Though she may just pass through like so many others, the out-of-towner is a lingering presence in the recesses of one's memory. The heartbreak they wreak is one that stays with you long after the initial cut has passed; they still make you dream of the other places to which they have fled, to where you could have gone, to where they may end up. On 'Girls Who Cry Need Cake' Jenny Queen inspires the same curiosity and fascination, providing a firm storytelling framework filled in by a subtle collection of songs full of colour, movement and depth of feeling. Although country has suddenly acquired a strange indie cred, few of the faux country posers in denim jackets come close to the raw study of humanity that country in it's undiluted form, without an affected twang and broken heart or bloke named T-Bone in sight, can provide. Only someone whose feet have traversed the terrain and soil outside of the often small-world view of indie music scenes like Jenny Queen can offer that, bringing us the perspective that only the out-of-towner can.' - OzMusicProject Website 'A surprisingly mainstream release for Laughing Outlaw, Jenny Queen is a gifted female songwriter for those who prefer their Americana on the pop side of things. Get past the whole 'I'm sitting down here but hey you can't see me' (sorry I don't know her name!!) sound and you have some great songs, more considered and accomplished than the production suggests... 'So maybe this is the end of the line, the place we've been looking to find.. not exactly a happy ending'. In 'Due South', Queen sings of visiting a boy who shuts her in a back room when his girlfriend turns up... I would love to meet the girlfriend, because Jenny Queen is quite beautiful. This CD is not as immediately appealing as many of the visitors to this site will be used to, but the songs are there, trust me. May take an acoustic tour to drive the point home to us cynical purists.' - Americana-UK Website 'Hot from the label that brings us prime Australian country comes this debut album from Jenny, who's described (I assume purely figuratively? Truth or dare?) as 'a farm girl from rural Ohio and backwoods Kentucky who thrives in New York, London, Nashville and Sydney'. Her brand of music is basically new-country, embracing touches of indiegirlpop along the way. She has an attractive singing voice that the press handout compares to Jewel, but which I find more characterful with it's distinct hints of both Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers. Perhaps she comes over a little over-chirpy at times, but that may be just a production quirk. The songs are all Jenny's own (mostly co-written with Sam Shinazzi), apart from a cover of Moby's Porcelain (which might seem a strange choice, but it works). Jenny's compositions inhabit a familiar classic alt-country world, her smart lyrics dealing with bruised love and suchlike in an attractive and appealing way. Maybe some of the melodies are a little too similar in general contour, but that's only noticeable if you take the whole album in one sitting. The musical arrangements, courtesy of producer Tony Buchen (best known from Sydney drum-&-bass outfit The Baggsmen), bring a fresh perspective to things, making a creative use of acoustic instruments like dobro, guitars, banjo and cello within an eclectic pop-country-based texture; occasional gimmicks (scratchy vinyl, backward-tape guitars) mercifully don't spoil the mood. As debuts go, then, this is a more than interesting one that makes Jenny a name to watch.' - Net Rhythms Website 'The female singer-songwriter genre is getting mighty crowded these days - what with your Bic Rungas and Katie Meluas and Jewels, not to mention Lucinda Williams et al - so the obvious question must be: is there room for one more? Well, on the strength of this debut from the girl from Ohio via the Kentuckian backwoods, who has found herself on an Australian label, the answer is a resounding yes. Actually, it's not surprising that Jenny has launched her career on Laughing Outlaw: they have a knack of discovering stuff like this - slightly Americana, slightly rootsy, slightly poppy, with spot-on production. The 10 songs on 'Girls Who Cry Need Cake' (nice title, whatever it means) are well thought-out; Jenny obviously knows her craft and has listened to enough music in the past to be able to ring the right bells, arrangement-wise. The interesting fact is that this album was produced by emerging Aussie producer Tony Buchen, better known for his work with drum 'n' bass outfit The Baggsmen. Tony has created a full, rounded sound, balancing clarity against power. Jenny's voice is not the most original, but it suits the songs she sings and you get the feeling that subsequent albums will see her mature as a singer. Standouts are the ballad Porcelain and it's immediate successor Lullaby For A Ghost. My only criticism is that there is no killer track, but there is plenty of potential. Anyone who has a fondness for girl singers - as I admit I do - would be well advised to check this one out. Jenny's a little princess who could well grow into a real rock queen.' - Comes With A Smile (UK) 'The space between alt. Country and country rock can be all but invisible to the uninitiated; if this is you then Jenny Queen's debut offers a salutary lesson in the difference, as well as throwing in a side order of straightforward, surging rock 'n' roll and indie acoustica. 'Girls Who Cry Need Cake' sounds like a Lucinda Williams mix tape, populated with off-cuts from Springsteen, Willie Nelson and Kristin Hersh, incredible songs relayed with staggering subtlety. Two opposites attract: 'Lullabye for a Ghost' is a skeletal, back-porch lament played against the sun setting over the dustbowl, while 'Kentucky Turn' sounds like it was captured live at a family hoedown fuelled by vicious moonshine. Yes, it is a country album, but there are no big hats here, just an abundance of soul.' 3½/5 - Logo Magazine (UK) 'Take an offbeat, backwoods gal from the US with a masters degree in international relations, add a Sydney drum'n'bass producer and a songwriter blessed with the art of melody, and what do you get? A creative collection of full heartbreak, melody and finesse that takes the listener back in time. Jenny Queen, Baggsmen's Tony Buchen and C Minus Project's Sam Shinazzi should bottle what they brewed up for Girls Who Cry Need Cake. Somewhere on the way to this vintage country-rock meets alt-country masterpiece, the unlikely chemistry took hold, and charmers such as 66 Days and the left-turn magic of Lullabye For a Ghost meandered along until the subliminal gift of emotional subtlety became the trademark icing. Girls Who Cry Need Cake is overflowing with sadness, but the album photographs show something else - Jenny Queen, a crack rifle shot, looks every bit the alluring temptress waiting to capture our hearts with the enticing melodies of the melancholy Drowning Slowly and the rural Due South.' - 4 / 5 - The Age, Melbourne 'It's been a very good year so far if you like your music carrying some folk, country and bruised love in it's saddlebags. There have been Patty Larkin, Patty Griffin, Kathleen Edwards and Kathryn Williams (and Gillian Welch to come), all strong songwriters, often inspired lyricists and singers who bring more than the notes to any song. Then there have been flawed, but still rewarding, works by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Audrey Auld and Brooke Leal. To this collection you can add the improbably, but nonetheless romantically named Sydney singer Jenny Queen. Her album is the kind of record to make you feel old and frisky; familiar and yet wondering why you hadn't noticed the way the light does that trick every time. That is, it's playing with traditional tools in genres that have had most of their roads not just travelled but worn down. And it has reference points that feel as aged as the hills. But Queen keeps finding slightly new ways of bringing it to you. Or if there isn't a new way, then doing the old way so well there's no room to complain. Take Maybe The Moon, one of several she's co-written with Melbourne musician Sam Shinazzi. It has a simple, country/soul lope with the organ bringing a touch of mid-'60s Dylan to the table, while the sly bass runs and slightly shifting drum patterns tweak it. Over that she lays out what could be a straightforward delivery except it reeks with passion: 'I'm burned a little, scarred a little/Bruised a little and tired a little/I've been touched by the sun and I can't understand/The love, the hurt, the heat of this man.' Or there's Ten Feet Tall. At first there's nothing to this but piano and voice. Nothing, that is, except a compelling pull that leads you into the heart of the song and leaves you there quivering. A fair part of Queen's appeal is her voice. It has the same kind of girl-into-woman feel of Lisa Miller and, like Miller, you get the feeling that while she sounds vulnerable there's steel underneath. More importantly, they both understand that sometimes you have to leave yourself open if you want people to let you in.' - Bernard Zuel, Metropolitan, Sydney Morning Herald 'She's a little bit country, she's a little bit rock n' roll and at times has a knack for writing an almost immaculate pop song. The album is very listenable, with enough production to keep it out of the predictable country basket. The alternative country scene is probably big enough to be sub-genrefied by now, yet it would be hard to pin point Queen's sound. There's a bit of Sweethearts Of The Rodeo here as well as some homegrown country pop on Girls Who Cry Need Cake.... Queen is a gorgeous singer and not a bad songwriter to boot. Perhaps it's possible to get your cake and eat it too.' - Drum Media.
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