REVIEW: Mary Jenson’s “Beyond”

Photobucket It didn’t seem that long ago that I had reviewed Mary Jenson, in fact I still have her CD very close by as I still play it from time to time. When this CD arrived, I wasn’t aware that this was the same lady I had reviewed about 22 months ago until I saw the biography and said “wait, that’s her?” However, that was two years ago and I guess because Jenson’s music has always been close, it just surprised me. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant surprise and I eagerly put this into the player.

Beyond (self-released) has a much greater pop sheen than her last album, but it’s one that works perfectly with her voice and range. I am reminded of the great soul and pop albums of the 70’s and 80’s that I would hear on a regular basis, either from my parents or relatives, and this is that kind of album that feels “at home”, if that makes sense. In other words, Jenson is a vocalist who is able to cover a wide range of styles and she shows this in great tracks like “Say Your Name”, “Flying, Falling”, and “Things My Mother Said”, each of which would sound quite well in radio rotation, or in television shows and films, or of course on stage. I am someone who does single out cover versions, but these songs show what Jenson is able to do with her songwriting talents, and I like it because it allows me to be more in tune with who she is.

Her cover of The Beatles‘ “Come Together” immediately brings to mind Nikka Costa and Norah Jones. In a song that is generally gibberish that leads to sexual innuendo, either artists pull this song off beautifully or come off awkward. Jenson is able to add her own finesse to it and make each line a lure to the inevitable moral. The guitar work from Jose Pires de Almeida Neto is also quite nice too and compliments Jenson’s approach. The song ends with a slight Latin touch, as if throughout the entire song she walks on a leisurely pace to a beach with the sun setting and now it’s time for everyone to come together.

The title track has an Indian influence, where Jenson starts to sing about wanting and demanding better than what exists in the world. Or perhaps it’s a more metaphysical way of saying “let’s look forward to better tomorrows”.

Beyond is the album I had hoped to hear from her when I reviewed Close Your Eyes in 2009, and here it is. To make a long story short, I like it when someone who has a good voice is able to push themselves with the type of material they write, perform, and cover. I also hope that with this album she may be able to do a lot of background work for others, as it would be a greater pathway to her own music, which I hope to hear more of throughout this decade.

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