Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jeneen Terrana - See The Light


Jeneen Terrana – See The Light
2011, Bitesized Records
Jeneen Terrana is an integral part of the Long Island City, NY music scene.  A distinctive songwriter with flair, Terrana has been comfortable with her local status but has the talent to play much larger stages.  Terrana debuted in 2002 with Just Me, a highly personal collection of originals that showed a raw talent just beginning to come into its own.  Terrana’s 2008 follow-up effort, My Creation, featured the inspired instrumental work of The Howl Brothers, and won critical acclaim from multiple outlets, including being branded a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc.  Terrana returns in 2011 with See The Light, a more mature and airy effort than her previous two albums.
See The Light opens with “Benny’s In My Head”, a folk ballad with a soulful slant.  This is Terrana’s internal dialogue over the battle between heart and mind when finding herself suddenly in the midst of love.  This is a great piece of songwriting; Terrana has crafted a great arrangement that stays enough in the background to allow the story of the song to play out unfettered.  “I Laid It On Him” is a foxy bit of urban gospel blending jazz with a folk/storyteller pastiche.  The song is incredibly catchy with an almost swing feel to it at times.  “Raise Your Voice” encourages children to speak up from their well of idealism about the world; encouraging them to not be borne down by the cynicism of the world around them.  The song is well-written, and Terrana performs it with heart.  There is one moment, on the highest note of the song, where the vocals come off a bit shrill, but otherwise the performance is flawless.
“All Of You” is written from the midst of true, deep and abiding love; it’s an invitation to join her and be immersed in its waters.  Terrana calls on her heritage, infusing shades of an Italian folk style here.  “I’ll Always Be With You” brings a sort of Baroque musical theater feel to the table.  While the song itself is a love song in a fairly common style, Terrana breathes pleasant life into the genre.  “See The Light” and “At School” are solid album tracks that lead into the splendid songwriting that makes up “God, I Need Comfort”.  Terrana’s representation of one side of a dialogue or prayer is intriguing; full of dark, Mediterranean influences.  Terrana explores the darker side of self and the constant battle to be better than we really are.  The composition is gorgeous, with amazing harmony vocals.  “Never Go” is another meditation on love; on her desire for love to stay as it is forever.  See The Light closes out with “Time”, a gentle plea to time itself to slow down for her.  Terrana keeps things simple, allowing the simple beauty of the melody and the unbridled angst of the lyrics to shine.  It’s a stunning closer.
Jeneen Terrana shows a lot of musical maturity on See The Light while exploring the happier countenance of love.  She doesn’t get entirely way from the darker aspects of humanity, and often her best songwriting comes from those darker places, but See The Light is a strong transitional album.  It doesn’t have quite the urgent energy of her previous work, but shows an artist struggling to come to terms with her deeper self.  Terrana is a top-notch songwriting, and her voice is enthralling.  And while there are a couple of slow spots here, this is the album Terrana had to make next to continue to grow creatively and as a performer.  See The Light is highly recommended listening.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Jeneen Terrana at www.jeneenterrana.com or www.myspace.com/jeneenterrana.   See The Light is available from Amazon.com as a CD or DownloadDigital copies are also available from iTunes.