After four studio albums and one live album, the career of Jennie Stearns came to an unexpected halt. A divorce from Richie Stearns of 'The Horse Flies' left her holding two babies and meant her own music had to be put on hold.
Eight years on, and now recording under her maiden name, these ten 'Ghost Tracks' were recorded at Pyramid Studios, Ithaca NY thanks in no small part to the support and encouragement of producer Craig Street.
Lowe is backed by Tyler Ramsey (guitars, piano, backing vocals), Sebastian Steinberg (bass), and Greg Evans (drums). These talented musicians performed together live with minimum overdubs.
The driving beat of the opening track, Waiting For The Right Light, is steeped in nostalgia. It references her brother Mark who tragically died in an accident in March 2020 soon after the album was completed. Lines like "Flirting in the scrap yard, we stole a broken car, careening through the trees, feeding off release." evoke the memory of wilder and happier times.
The hope tinged with melancholy gives a definite Neil Young vibe to the collection as a whole. You hear this in the modest guitar distortion of Sweet Amnesia and on My Savant, a Harvest Moon inspired confession of unrequited love. Lowe says of her musical style : "Once I discovered the sustain pedal, there was no turning back".
Songs like All The Rage and Grizzly evidently come from dark places although her demons are released without anger or rancor. They illustrate that these tunes were conceived with genuine empathy and compassion.
The piano ballad Asphalt was written after seeing a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk and the album closes with Ataraxia written for a close family member who was in an abusive relationship.
In the title tune, Lowe sings of needing to find the courage to express herself anew. The quality and depth of the material should lay to rest any stubborn self doubts she may have had.
Jennie Lowe's website