CD Review: Courtney Jaye – Love and Forgiveness (Tropicali, 2013)
Nashville-based singer-songwriter explores her ’70s pop roots
After a short run of modern pop records for Island, singer-songwriter Courtney Jaye shucked off the major label gloss for the wonderfully quirky independent release The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye. The album’s Hawaiian-tinged California canyon country was magical in its combination of island breezes, Topanga afternoons, girl-group bounce and country twang. Her second indie release tightens up the production, drops many of the island influences and homes in more directly on the sweeter side of 1970s West Coast adult pop. Those who followed Deana Carter’s career as she moved from the country success of “Strawberry Wine” to the ’70s pop-rock influences of her subsequent albums will recognize a similar turn here.
The album’s lead single, “Say Oh Say,” offers a vigorous nod to Fleetwood Mac’s mid-70s commercial peak, and the opening “One Way Conversation” has a retro chorus hook worthy of Sheryl Crow’s catchy radio hits. You can hear traces of Karla Bonoff, Jennifer Warnes and Yvonne Elliman throughout the album, and on the tropical “Summer Rain” Jaye’s country roots are underlined by Greg Leisz’s pedal steel. Having already moved away from the cool modern production of her earlier sides, Jaye’s now fully embraced her inner singer-songwriter, with lyrics of budding love, blooming romance, enduring relationships and turbulent times. Crank up the Marantz 2240 and let your Advent speakers envelop you in the warm afternoon sun of Jaye’s new old sounds.