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The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye

(Tropicali; US: 3 Nov 2009)

Bongos and Banjos

Courtney Jaye does something sweet and wonderful on her country-music-goes-Hawaiian mash-up. She finds the common sensibility at the heart of both genres, not just in the instrumentation (lap steel guitars) and lilting melodies but in the genuine loopiness that comes out of just being sincere. Jaye’s narrators aren’t afraid to get down an beg for love (“Sometimes Always”), drown their sorrows in cheap alcohol (“Box Wine”), or kick themselves for being stupid (“Queen of Sabotage”). They know the present may suck, but time is always on their side. Jaye’s got the girl-grown-up kind of vocals that make her sound like a woman who hasn’t lost her sense of still believing in love and life as a grand adventure. She complements this impression by having the unusual accompaniment (e.g, bongos and banjos) born out of the mix of musical styles. The careful listener can always hear something mysterious happening in the mix.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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4 Aug 2013
It's easy to be charmed by Jaye’s ability to create a zeitgeist that's about two people trying to make it in a beautiful world where we just have to be open and share with each other on the deepest levels.
2 Aug 2005
Nice offering from singer-songwriter that fails to make lasting impression with songs that, while sweet, tend to downplay her voice.
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