Courtney Jaye – A Rising Artist Shines with Her Latest Release, Love and Forgiveness
Courtney Jaye is a Pittsburgh-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter who’s accomplished a lot in a relatively short time – from collaborating with artists as varied as Taj Mahal, Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club, and Matthew Sweet, to releasing five studio albums since 2005. Her latest, Love and Forgiveness, channels the best of ’70s singer-songwriter pop, including what seems to be a central feed to the melodies and vocal styling of Stevie Nicks. For some this will sound like heavy praise, for others it could be ample reason to stay away. I’m in the first camp. Courtney Jaye’s “Love and Forgiveness” is definitely worth discovering.
Starting off with “Ask Me To,” the listener is thrown back to a time of Kodachrome nostalgia. Depending on your generational association, she’ll remind you either of your youthful carefree days, or the music your parents were playing while you were growing up. The song promises: If you need a friend / someone just to be there and listen / anytime you want / call me, baby / I’ll be around. And just like that, Courtney Jaye has become a companion for all of our ups-and-downs.
While “One Way Conversation” was chosen as the lead single for the album, there are plenty of other more radio-friendly choices from the set. To be honest, this song is a little too country-tinged for this listener’s ears. Since Jaye is spending her days in Nashville now, I can understand the urge to court the country stations; but the majority of the album is better suited for the Triple A stations. However, the acoustic live version with the production stripped away, demonstrate the song’s strength:
The “Say Oh Say” intro grabs your attention in an off-putting way, yet it builds into a song that would fit well in Ms. Nicks’ catalog. Watch the Official video for “Say Oh Say”
“Every Time We Say Goodbye” is pure pop at its finest. While the song doesn’t provide any new insights on the topic of love, it reminds you how amazing new love feels! The tune offers an infectious chorus and hook that will anchor this album on your playlist…makes one wonder why this song wasn’t offered up as a single.
Next up comes “Morning” — while not a standout track, it’s also not one to be passed over, either.
“Summer Rain” finds itself rooted in Nashville, but more along the lines of Alt-Country. Treading the topics of new love (one that Jaye is particularly good at traversing), “Summer Rain” is whimsical and comforting. Whether you’re newly in love or thinking back to early romances, “Summer Rain” definitely connects.
“I Thought About It” would easily have fit on Rilo Kiley’s “Under The Blacklight.” While Jaye once again channels Stevie Nicks, she also shows a contemporary kinship with Jenny Lewis. Though not a standout on the album, it evokes a more contemporary Alt-Country pop sound.
“Stars and Skies” is for the lonesome cowpoke — once again coming across as an echo of Fleetwood Mac. But by this time, Jaye has proven herself to be an artist in her own right, not a mere Nicks/Fleetwood Mac tribute act.
Next up is “Love and Forgiveness,” a solid choice for the album’s title, as it encompasses the best of Jaye’s songwriting and vocals…and also leaves one to question why it doesn’t kick-off the album. This song shows Jaye in full control of her craft. Love comes, love goes, life goes on. Again, nothing earth-shattering, but undeniably true.
Closing out the set is “New Day.” A bit too country for my taste, it also falls a bit flat. It’s a shame Jaye doesn’t close with a song that makes you immediately want to replay the album.
Courtney Jaye’s Love and Forgiveness is a strong release that will ensure her a solid fan base. While the Stevie Nicks vocal similarities will pull in a good number of listeners, I’m confident she’ll attract an ever wider audience as she continues to establish her own distinct sound on future recordings.
Adam Kukic is the host of The Coffeehouse on 91.3-FM, Pittsburgh … listen live at www.wyep.org
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