Jenee Halstead…rather than try and come up with something original and new on how I feel about this songwriter, I will quote what I said about her when she was announced for volume 1 of Locals Covering Locals: ‘The first time that I heard Jenee Halstead sing I was mesmerized. The perfect amount of twang and heart spiraling together and outward to the audience. The poor audience doesn’t know what is going to hit them, but when it hits they too are sent into a helix of wonderful things. I believe it was her song “Damascus” that just had me hooked and reeled in. It was a moment of “why can’t every female songwriter just sound exactly like this?” that overtook me and I immediately got it…She just has “it”. That thing that is completely impossible to properly define, but everyone knows it when they hear it.’
Halstead has a new project out called “Edge of the World” , a 5 track collection of diversely beautiful tunes that well…has me on the edge of my seat as I listen…check it.
The first track kicks in as a modernized delta blues vibey tune with a foot stomp like a heart beating in its cage and a theme around the line “won’t put my shovel down, til you’re six feet under the cold, hard ground”. Aptly titled “Shovel”, the musicianship here and throughout the collection is PRIME. She really tapped some top notch talent for this project that really helps Halstead’s voice to find a sturdy base to stand high upon. And boy, does her voice shine. Her voice is as good as it has ever been and there is an attitude and power in how she presents herself in these songs. This gal, my friends, is a bad ass.
‘Sophia’ is a stunningly beautiful and moving arrangement with a chorus that is infectious and makes me quake and tremble as I listen. Otherworldly, dreamlike, and surreal in its nature, it drifts and sways in waves…close your eyes and listen to this one. Really, truly listen. Music that is presented in such a fashion deserves to be heard.
‘Juarez’ can be summed up in one phrase “chilling, sultry goodness that gives me shivers”. Again…please just listen to it. Let it wash over you and you will understand.
The 5 songs each have their own character and personality that show the depth of the songwriter and display her different sides and influences. Indie rocking, piano balladry, Jenee is a methodical and pensive musician when it comes to thinking about the theme and flow of her albums. While “Edge” may contain a varied collection of sounds, it all flows wonderfully and fluid. I believe that is a testament to great care and thought that she puts into her work.
The short EP of 5 tunes, what it may make in over all run time more than makes up for in overall heaviness in its feeling and emotion. I can feel literal weight hanging over me as I listen to the songs over and over again. The music surrounds me, it is an almost ethereal and out of body kind of a sensation (especially on the track ‘Juarez’) in the very best way possible. I am a firm believer that good music can make you feel certain emotions or feelings, but great music can inflict physical impulses and vibrations on your body and soul. Halstead’s latest is a prime example of how music can surpass a mere listening experience and burrow itself a bit deeper into your being. With a voice that cuts clean and deep like the sharpest of blades, she leaves a mark that won’t be fading any time soon with “Edge of the World”.