Posts Tagged ‘Cassandra Jenkins’

I’d never heard of Brooklyn’s Cassandra Jenkins before her latest album, but she’s well-credentialed. She was set to tour with Purple Mountains before David Berman’s suicide and has also worked with The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and The Fiery Furnace’s Eleanor Friedberger. Berman is referenced on ‘New Bikini’ – “After David passed away/My friends put me up for a few days/”

An Overview on Phenomenal Nature” sounds dubious on paper, an indie-folk record that celebrates nature, adds monologues about how men have lost touch, and incorporates the kind of new-age textures you’d expect on a 1980s Van Morrison record. But it’s lovely in practice, pretty and warm. Jenkins’ vocal is intimate and she’s a good enough lyricist to keep things interesting, casually dropping the word “panoply” into ‘Crosshairs’ and titling a song ‘Ambiguous Norway’.

http://

Jenkins’ main collaborator is producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman. Kaufman’s a member of the amazing Bonny Light Horsemen and who has worked with The National, Taylor Swift, and Josh Ritter. The arrangements are often key with lovely woodwind parts, while the dual lead guitar parts on ‘Ambiguous Norway’ are gorgeous.

A gorgeous, shimmering set of songs that combines ultra-smooth pop sounds (recalling the softer moments of Destroyer’s “Kaputt”) with sweet ambient textures. Fantastic song writing work, as well. A joy to listen to, and a clear early contender for 2021’s album of the year. 

For UK Dinked special edition, go here: dinkededition.co.uk/cassandra-jenkins-an-overview-on-phenomenal-nature

The Band of Musicians:

Cassandra Jenkins– vocals, guitar
Josh Kaufman– guitar, voyager, harmonium, banjo, synth, bass, piano, organ
~and~
JT Bates– drums, auxiliary percussion
Eric Biondo– drums
Michael Coleman– synth
Stuart Bogie–  flutes, saxophone
Doug Wieselman– sax
Oliver Hill– violin, viola, string arrangement  
Annie Nero– bass
Aaron Roche– synth
Will Stratton– guitar
Ben Seretan– drone

All songs written and performed by Cassandra Jenkins
Produced and mostly engineered by Josh Kaufman
at The Boom Boom Room, Brooklyn, NY

Released February 19th, 2021

Nothing ever really disappears,” Cassandra Jenkins says. “It just changes shape.” Over the past few years, she’s seen relationships altered, travelled three continents, wandered through museums and parks, and recorded free-associative guided tours of her New York haunts. Her observations capture the humanity and nature around her, as well as thought patterns, memories, and attempts to be present while dealing with pain and loss. With a singular voice, Jenkins siphons these ideas into the ambient folk of her new album.

“An Overview on Phenomenal Nature” honours flux, detail, and moments of intimacy. Jenkins arrived at engineer Josh Kaufman’s studio with ideas rather than full songs — nevertheless, they finished the album in a week. Jenkins’ voice floats amid sensuous chamber pop arrangements and raw-edged drums, ferrying us through impressionistic portraits of friends and strangers. Her lyrics unfold magical worlds, introducing you to a cast of characters like a local fisherman, a psychic at a birthday party, and driving instructor of a spiritual  bent. 
Jenkins’ last record, 2017’s Play Till You Win, confirmed the veteran artist’s talent. Evident of Jenkins’ experience growing up in a family band in New York City, the album showcased her meticulous song writing and musicianship, earning her comparisons to George Harrison and Emmylou Harris. Jenkins has since played in the bands of Eleanor Friedberger, Craig Finn, and Lola Kirke, and rehearsed to tour with Purple Mountains last August before the tour’s cancellation. Her new record departs from her previous work in its openness and flexibility, following her peripatetic lifestyle. “The goal is to be more fluid, to be more like the clouds shifting constantly,” she says. The approach allowed Jenkins to express herself like she never has.

On album opener “Michelangelo,” before the heavy drum beat and fuzz guitars enter, Jenkins sings quietly “I’m a three-legged dog, working with what I’ve got / and part of me will always be looking for what I lost // there’s a fly around my head, waiting for the day I drop dead.” Phenomenal Nature thrives in this dichotomy between ornate sonics and verbal frankness, a calming guided tour to the edge. Later, on “Crosshairs,” amid lush strings, she sings conversationally: “Empty space is my escape / it runs through me like a river / while time spits in my face.” 

“Hard Drive,” the third track and album center piece, opens with a voice memo Jenkins recorded at The Met Breuer: a guard muses about Mrinalini Mukherjee’s hybrid textile and sculpture works, which were then on display in a retrospective titled Phenomenal Nature. “When we lose our connection to nature, we lose our spirit, our humanity,” she explains. Stuart Bogie’s saxophone & Josh Kaufman’s glittering guitar make way for Jenkins’ spoken word which constellates scenes from her life, gradually building and blossoming as she recreates a meditation guided by a friend who incants, “One, two, three.”

Sounds of footsteps and bird calls run through the album’s glittering conclusion, “The Ramble.” Meditative and bright, it recalls how Jenkins felt while writing and recording her new material: “Everything else is falling apart, so let’s just enjoy this time,” she said. If Phenomenal Nature has a unifying theme, it’s the power of presence, the joy of walking in a world in constant flux and opening oneself to change. .

http://

Releases February 19th, 2021

Cassandra Jenkins– vocals, guitar
Josh Kaufman– guitar, voyager, harmonium, banjo, synth, bass, piano, organ
~and~
JT Bates– drums, auxiliary percussion
Eric Biondo– drums
Michael Coleman– synth
Stuart Bogie–  flutes, saxophone
Oliver Hill– violin, viola, string arrangement  
Annie Nero– bass
Aaron Roche– synth
Ben Seretan– drone
Will Stratton– guitar

All songs written and performed NYC singer/songwriter Cassandra Jenkins will release her sophomore album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature in February via Ba Da Bing Records,