Jennifer Truesdale croons with an elegant ease in “Thinking of You”
With a bluesy hue over her vocal and the adjacent grooves that complement her every verse, Jennifer Trusedale croons with an elegant ease in “Thinking of You,” a strutting swagger in “Daydreaming,” retrospective candor in the closer “My Life” and heartfelt passion in her cover of John Fogerty’s incomparable classic “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” and no matter where we look in her debut album Through the Circle, we find an honest harmony waiting to greet us with warm, loving arms. Truesdale steps up to the mic with an undeniable confidence throughout the ten-song tracklist of Through the Circle, and whether she’s lighting it up in a gospel-style serenade in “We Will Be Forgotten” or playing with Sam Cooke-esque rhythms in “River to Nowhere,” she demonstrates a knack for dishing out big melodies like few rookies have in 2019 (or any other time in the late 2010s. Hers is an unmissable debut if there are any this fall, and it’s one that I would recommend to fans of adult contemporary pop as much as I would light jazz, vocal-driven blues and soft rock.
Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With” gets a lovely redressing in Through the Circle thanks to the freewheeling swing of our leading lady, who shines brilliantly in lyric-powered numbers like this one, the balladic piano piece “Sunrise” and lush “Moving Mountains” as much as she does in more instrumentally expressive works like “I Need You Tonight,” “Daydreaming,” and “River to Nowhere.” Harmony is always the centerpiece for Truesdale’s formula here, and although she efficiently balances out every composition with strong vocals and equally potent melodies from the backing band, there’s never any question as to who and what the real star of this show is. I’d be really curious to hear a lot of these tracks in an acoustic setting, mostly to see how they would play out without any of the studio frills that they’re accented with in this record. Truesdale seemingly went out of her way to keep the material as fresh and organic as she possibly could, so my gut tells me that they would likely translate with just as much emotion – if not a touch more – in a live capacity as they have in this instance.
If what I’ve heard in Through the Circle is a fair sampling of what I can expect to find out of Jennifer Truesdale’s future recordings, she’s going to be in for a lot more praise from critics as she develops her career in the next few years. I’ve heard a lot of really interesting singer/songwriters in 2019, among them the highly capable Melissa Ruth and Clare Means, but neither of these performers are playing the kind of old world pop-meets-new school blues hybrid that this fierce songstress is in her virgin LP. She’s got a sound that is all her own, and even if it takes a minute for her to find a core audience, something tells me that the success she’ll discover when she finally does will prove to have been well worth the wait.