Jenny Gillespie is a soprano who takes a classical approach to her folkish music—and when I say that, I don't mean she apes Joni Mitchell or Judy Collins but instead injects a strong dose of chamber airs and fulsome arrangement, oft crafting an entire than assuming the role of the standard genre waif in a forest promenade. A bit of Annie Lennox's beautiful mists and fogs (a la Medusa) run through Light Year, as do the architectures of yesteryear symphonics such as we saw in the Left Banke, Peter & Gordon, Gerry & the Pacemakers, etc.
Gillespie bases in the piano but likes to add in cello, pedal steel, cajon, tabla, bells, and other exotica, so there's a 4AD element weaving things together. Her accompanists are particularly talented in adding haunting ambiances, Darwin Smith especially subtle in his colorations; without him, the cuts would be different creatures, still arcane and magisterial but not quite so fully fleshed.
Light Year shows a great deal of pensivity going on. At times, I was minded alternatingly of Harold Budd, the Cocteau Twins (albeit less shrill than them), Shelleyan Orphan, a narcotized Laura Nyro, Lisa Germano, and Tori Amos, all of whom sit high in my esteem. The level of gentle sophistication in Gillespie's compositions and arrangements approaches the baroque, so that the old and the new meet in happy, though sometimes morosely so, accord, satisfied that the hoary virtues of the past aren't being scamped while the solemn duties of the present are decorously attended and the future well vouchsafed. That is to say: Light Year possesses a timeless quality that's going to carry it very well indeed for some time to come.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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