Far better than coffeehouse folk, Jenny Dalton has some edge to her maudlin, melancholic-but-pretty songs, including the lovely “At Ease” that sounds like a combination of Tori Amos, Emm Gryner, and Sarah McLachlan. The Minneapolis-based artist continues down this road with the equally precious “Bad Day” (not a cover of the Daniel Powter ditty). There is very little radio-friendly pop here, à la Vanessa Carlton, instead Dalton shines on the Celtic-leaning “Violet Walk” that would not be one-upped by the likes of The Cranberries’ Delores O’Riordan. She revisits this territory later with the light, flighty “My Shape”. The song is very good and picks up steam for a grand finale, as does the charming “Snake Oil”. At other times, Dalton could be mistaken for the female Joe Jackson, especially with the smart, highbrow pop of “Three Lilies” that shuffles along without a care in the world. One track that seems to be head and shoulders above the rest is “Lily and the Stranger”, showcasing Dalton’s strong pipes, even if they’re not pushed to the limit. The artist also gets it right with the lush, string-accented “Iraqi Sky”. While there isn’t a lot that separates her from others of her ilk, Dalton has made one pleasing and consistently fine debut if “Joshua” or the somewhat suspenseful “Cadence” are measuring sticks.
// Notes from the Road
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