April 25, 2018 Jennifer Warnes – Another Time, Another Place (Album Review)
She churned out her debut album in 1968, I Can Remember Everything, and became a favorite in the genre Country Pop; but her name drizzled onto the mainstream only a decade after, when the song “It Goes Like It Goes,” which she recorded for the 1979 film Norma Rae, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Born on March 3, 1947, in Seattle, Washington, United States, the enduring singer-songwriter Jennifer Warnes has eight studio albums to her credit – from her youthful first memories culled in the late ’60s; her two self-titled albums in the ’70s; her critically acclaimed Leonard Cohen tribute, Famous Blue Raincoat, of 1987; and to her last offering, 2001’s The Well.
Now, 50 years after her first full-length and 17 after the last one, Warnes comes back to the scene with Another Time, Another Place. Scheduled for release on Friday, April 27, 2018, through BMG, Warnes’ ninth studio album immediately begins with the carrier single, “Just Breathe.” In this track, the hopeful lyrics and Warnes’ comforting low voice are a breath of clean air, whereas the crisp guitar plucks and soft string orchestration take the listener back to a beautiful, rustic place of old and homey photographs. The trip down memory lane continues with the graceful swing of the standup bass–led “Tomorrow Night.” The breezy and brilliant sound of the acoustic guitar and orchestral strings of the ensuing “Once I Was Loved” then sway like an afternoon lullaby – tear-jerking and smile-pulling at the same time.
A further frolicking into the peaceful countryside occurs next with the sentimental, bluesy ballad “So Sad.” Following, Warnes dishes out Traditional Jazz Pop allure with “I See Your Face before Me,” recalling classic ballads such as Tony Bennett’s “The Shadow of Your Smile,” Shirley Bassey’s “My Funny Valentine,” and Astrud Gilberto’s “Fly Me to the Moon.”
Warnes’ storytelling streak shines through with the Country track “I Am the Big Easy.” Still pensive and in the same desert-rose predisposition, “The Boys and Me,” on the other hand, slides and pulsates a bit more intensely, enough to entice couples towards the corner of the lounge to dance unassumingly.
“Back Where I Started” is another starry-eyed Country/Blues combo that will transport the listener to Warnes’ humble beginnings. One can almost imagine a very young and buoyant, 20-year-old Warnes crooning her first songs, more than half a century ago. The Gospel-tinged “Freedom” is a change of pace – sparse, spacey, soulful – its sentiments soaring into the silky skies; its rhythm and melodies palpating like a true hand-on-heart generational, patriotic anthem. “There should be laughter after pain / There should be sunshine after rain…,” sings Warnes in “Why Worry?,” as she wraps up her latest, inspired album with heartwarming hope and mesmerizing music.
Warnes wove the songs in this latest collection of hers in collaboration with the likes of Mickey Newbury, Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, John Legend, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Warren Haynes, and Derek Trucks; and then recording them with a cast of brilliant musicians and long-time friends of hers, whom included Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Sting), Percussionist Lenny Castro (Steely Dan, Toto), Lap-Slide Wizard Jeff Plankenhorn (Joe Ely, Ray Wylie Hubbard), Singer Blondie Chaplin (Brian Wilson, The Rolling Stones), and Blues Stars Sonny Landreth and Ruthie Foster. Definitely a powerhouse of a record, Another Time, Another Place finds Warnes in both a fresh and familiar time and place. CrypticRock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.