Review: Jenny Gillespie – Cure For Dreaming

After being placed in the top 25 albums of the year by Billboard for her debut album Chamma, Jenny Gillespie is back again and stronger than ever with her second album entitled Cure For Dreaming. Her progressive folk pop music genre has brought her this impressive recognition, as she works alongside credible musicians to create a perfect marriage of lyrics and instrumentals.

Born in and now based in America, Gillespie both produces and performs her own music, with her new album having been recorded in the autumn of 2015.

The new album does not disappoint, as Gillespie’s experimental approach to music and mystical combination of folk, pop, electronica and jazz resonates a magical tone throughout the album. Her vocals are beautiful, and work in perfect harmony with the carefully orchestrated musical backgrounds and interludes. The album emanates running themes of love and emotion, as romantic love is contrasted and harmonised with self love, motherly love, the love of nature and the love of America. Indeed, her musical approach to exploring America is inspiring, as Gillespie explores the symbolic beauty and historical spirituality of her home country.

‘Dhyana by the River’ perfectly displays the intricacy of her musical style, not only through her exquisite soft high vocals, but by the progressively more experimental instrumentals, creating increasingly modern tones as it incorporates jazz and electronica to compliment the otherwise traditional folk sounds. The single ‘Evening Love’ offers the pinnacle of this experimentation, as the instruments are used to imitate the sounds of a natural environment, working in combination with the lyrical imagery of American landscapes to fabricate an incredible atmosphere of being absorbed in natural beauty.

Gillespie’s lyrics draw upon folktales to incorporate themes of American mythology and historical culture. The symbolic allusion to these folktales allows the tunes to encapsulate the emotions and struggles of childhood, growing up, and also motherhood. ‘His Voyage Innocent’ and ‘Pain Travels (Chakra Huckster)’ more prominently refers to American history as Gillespie brings historical humanitarian issues to modern day consideration, with hints of feminist ideals seen within the lyrics. America is illuminated as the songs explore the country’s historical journey and the pains the country has been through to come to be the America Gillespie knows and loves. The line “like an oxygen mask in an olive tree” (‘Pain Travels (Chakra Huckster)’ stands out, as this poignant simile alludes to the man-made hardships of war and other conflicts which have caused devastation amongst a beautiful natural environment.

Overall, the album is a carefully crafted piece of art, and most definitely worth listening to. It is exciting to see Gillespie orchestrating another wonderful modern approach to the folk genre, as her album takes us on a musical journey, exploring the beauty of America and the emotional challenges that she and other women face during their lives. Gillespie’s new album perfectly brings archaic folk tones into today and the future.

Rowan Bennett

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