Jenny Berkel: Just Like a River
Swelling strings accompany a pure voice to gently mesmerising effect.
By Kerry Doole
Jenny Berkel: Just Like a River (Outside Music): This roots singer/songwriter and poet released a new album, These Are the Sounds Left from Leaving, and Just Like A River is a focus track from the album.
In a press release, Berkel explains that “Just Like a River started as a guitar part. Shortly before going into the studio, I wrote a poem exploring the openness and non-linear nature of time, which became the lyrics for this song. I wanted it to feel open and expansive but also close and for the listeners to feel themselves within that space. Outside, the world was swirling with information and disinformation, news about physical, political, and emotional violence, and urgent climate warnings; meanwhile, I was inside my tiny apartment being quiet, trying to see clearly both what was outside and within."
The song features soaring strings, piano and crisp acoustic guitar that complement but never overshadow Berkel's crystal-clear and evocative vocals. The effect is gently mesmerising, as is an accompanying video featuring shots of nature in its beauty.
Some Canadian roots heavy-hitters are involved in the album. Kacy & Clayton make a guest appearance, Colin Nealis (Andy Shauf) contributes string arrangements, and Dan Edmonds and Ryan Boldt (The Deep Dark Woods) co-produced with Berkel.
Describing the creative process for the album, Berkel notes that "I started studying poetry more seriously, which deepened my sense of the sonic qualities of language and poetic detail. I remember going back and forth between poems and songs, feeling their similarities and differences. Songs felt very clearly like the place to put these big exterior and interior anxieties. I needed to feel them fully, and there is nothing like music moving through your body and resonating within to make you really feel. Songs can pull everything out of your heart, and they can put everything in too. I followed the sounds and shapes and feelings of all of my anxieties, contextualized them with the details of everyday life, and wrote it all into this album."
The somewhat nomadic Berkel is now based in Montreal. She has released two previous albums, Here On A Wire and Pale Moon Kid, and word of her major talent has spread amongst her peers and critics. It is now time for it to be given wider exposure.
Publicity: Adam Bentley, Auteur Research
Management: Wayne Petti, Straight & Narrow