Featuring Guest Artists Noam Pikelny (The Punch Brothers)
Kevn Kinney (Drivin’ N Cryin”)
Al Scnhier (moe.)
Pete Levin (Blind Boys of Alabama)
Grammy-Winner Skip Ward (Steve Martin)
Produced and Mixed by Grammy-winner Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams)
Recorded by Phil Palazzolo (Neko Case, The New Pornographers)
Jennie Arnau creates a unique blend of New York-nurtured South Carolina-born Grassroots rock. Her original blend of Americana, Alt-Country and rock along with her bold and bittersweet voice have lead more than one critic to describe her as a cross between Neil Young and Martina McBride. It’s a sly underground sound that’s born of urban grit and rowdy southern sensibilities and perfectly suits this native South Carolina singer. It’s not a voice that has gone unnoticed either. Chuck Eddy of the Village Voice praises her “husky uplift and rhythmic wallop rarely heard in the female-folkie field,” while No Depression raves “Jennie’s voice is strong without sacrificing its femininity.” Singer Magazines goes on to spotlight Jennie’s ability to “pierce your heart one moment, then turn right around and calm your spirit the next.”
CHASING GIANTS, released on MRI/RED, is praised by Rolling Stone’s Joe Levy as “her most fully realized set of songs yet. If you care about the struggle for love and happiness - and who among us doesn't? -- This one's for you.”
Determined to find a producer who would understand her alchemy of grassroots Americana and indie rock, Jennie enlisted the help of Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Queens of the Stone Age, Emmylou Harris). The two, along with recording engineer Phil Palazzolo (Neko Case, The New Pornographers), quickly began work on CHASING GIANTS.
“It sounds strange,” says Jennie, “but when I went into the studio with Trina, I really didn’t know my voice. But she showed me that I knew my music better than anyone and that I had a clear vision. I learned a lot and she gave me the confidence I needed to make this album.”
Jennie approached tracks like “Beautiful Life” with this newfound confidence. “It’s the happiest song I’ve written,” she laughs. “I saw this fun outdoor hippie show in Austin and it made me realize that life can be really great and simple if you let it.” This attitude also shows on “The Sharp Things” which shows how “the simplest things are the things that can make you the happiest and hurt the most.” Stories abound on CHASING GIANTS but ultimately, it’s the uniqueness of Jennie’s explosive voice that truly defines each of these songs, marking an indie debut as compelling as that of Patty Griffin or Ryan Adams.
From the yearning and hopeful journey of “Bouncing Ball” to the playfulness of “For the Winter,” Jennie smartly embraces both the subtle artistry of alt-country and indie sensibility. She’s not afraid of the ache in her vocals and her lyrics; in fact, Jennie says that it’s that very conflict of her multi-dimensional life, her loves and her losses over the last years that have fueled the “openness” and honesty of CHASING GIANTS.
For a woman who grew up in the foothills of Appalachia, but who has thrived in New York’s downtown music scene, Jennie has long explored the curious dichotomy of her artistic temperament. But she sees CHASING GIANTS as the “coming of age” album she has long sought to record.
“I’m really so proud of this album,” says Jennie, sole songwriter of CHASING GIANTS. “I’ve returned a little bit more to my country roots. I think it’s modern but has a more organic feel and although I’m still a singer/songwriter it stretches the blending of various music styles.”
Jennie’s core band includes drummer Alan Lerner (Zen Tricksters), guitarist Greg McMullen (Chris Whitley), keyboardist Pete Levin (Blind Boys of Alabama) and bassist Jason Hogue.
Alan Lerner - Drums
Jason Hogue - Bass
Greg McMullen - Pedal Steel
Pete Levin - keyboards
New CD To be released May 2011
Chasing Giants - April 13, 2010
Mt. Pleasant (Fall 2007)
Superman Won't Take The Call (LP) - 2003
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I've known Jennie for years. She has a big voice and an even bigger heart. You'll come to know both... I've known Jennie for years. She has a big voice and an even bigger heart. You'll come to know both intimately in this, her most fully realized set of songs yet. If you care about the struggle for love and happiness – and who among us doesn't? -- this one's for you. Joe Levy, Rolling Stone
The Daily News
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With a honey-sweet voice ideally suited for the world of contemporary folk an Americana, South Carol...With a honey-sweet voice ideally suited for the world of contemporary folk an Americana, South Carolina native Jennie Arnau has carved out a respectable career over the past decade without ever reaching true mainstream success. Contemporaries like Neko Case have emerged from the pack in recent years, and Arnau has the same kind of talent, no question.
Perhaps the excellent Chasing Giants will be the album to make her more of a household name. Heavy on the country twang, these 10 tunes showcase Arnau's powerful pipes and penchant for heartfelt, honest songwriting. From the opener "For the Winter" through the set-closing album highlight "The Sharp Things", she lays herself bare throughout this 40-minute gem. Additional keepers include "The Sparrow & The Gods", "Beautiful Life" and the title tracks as she sets forth on her musical struggle for love and happiness.
A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz
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I get a lot of CDs sent to me in the mail... usually two or three each week. When those discs come i...I get a lot of CDs sent to me in the mail... usually two or three each week. When those discs come in, they generally go into one of two stacks.
Stack A is for the projects from artists I know and that I'm excited about listening to. Stack B is for artists that I haven't heard before and know nothing about. Stack A goes straight into iTunes and onto my iPod. Stack B gets set aside, and I try to listen to them when I get the chance.
Occasionally, a disc from Stack B can jump into Stack A if it grabs me in a certain way. The easiest way to do this is for the disc to contain a guest shot from an artist that I do know and respect. Jennie Arneau's new release, Chasing Giants (a B stacker), certainly has that going for it. Jennie enlists the talents of moe. guitarist Al Schnier to play mandolin and guitar on two tracks, and Noam Pickelny of The Punch Brothers and Leftover Salmon plays banjo throughout. Throw in production work from Trina Shoemaker (Over the Rhine, Shannon McNally, Sheryl Crow), and I was more than intrigued by the assembled cast.
The other way to jump stacks is to have a visually stimulating cover image that grabs me immediately and makes me want to know what's going on inside. The cartoon image of the little cowboy and cowgirl staring down the giants with their six-shooters was too much for me to pass up.
The disc had the goods to jump into the A stack... but it wouldn't stay there long if the music didn't grab me as well.
Jennie's newest album blends the southern stylings of her South Carolina roots with the big city polish of her current New York City home. The album opening, "For the Winter," kicks off with a Vienna Teng or Norah Jones style piano/guitar pairing laced with politeness and restraint. It isn't long, however, before the banjo and fiddle kick in to give the tune a personality of its own and reveal the track's rootsier heart.
Those styles are played against each other throughout the album. The pop leaning "Bouncing Ball" is laced with subtle banjo fills from Pikelny, while "Beautiful Life" switches from mournful country to sunny pop from verse to chorus. Those tunes are then contrasted with the straight up R&B of "The Sparrow & The Gods" and the gentle folk of "Jack Be Nimble."
Overall, the two styles meld very well. Jennie Arnau now has my attention. Her next offering will go straight into stack A... even if it's a total solo effort in with a plain brown cover.
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For Chasing Giants, the follow-up to her acclaimed 2007 release Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina-born, N...For Chasing Giants, the follow-up to her acclaimed 2007 release Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina-born, New York City based singer-songwriter Jennie Arnau recruited some heavy hitters to help her achieve her Southern roots rock sound.
Producer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Queens of the Stone Age, Emmylou Harris) and engineer Phil Palazzolo (Neko Case, The New Pornographers) teamed up in the control booth while Arnau's core band - drummer Alan Lerner, guitarist Greg McMullen (Chris Whitley), keyboardist Pete Levin (Blind Boys of Alabama) and bassist Jason Hogue - was augmented by special guests Al Schnier (moe.), Noam Pikelny (The Punch Brothers), Kevn Kinney (Drivin' N Cryin') and Skip Ward (Steve Martin).
While most star-studded affairs like this come off as a disjointed collection of one-off's, Chasing Giants feels like a cohesive album, which is a credit to Arnau's ability to enlist the right talent while maintaining her artistic vision. From the peachy-keen vibe of "Beautiful Life" to the hopefulness of "Bouncing Ball", Arnau has produced an album in Chasing Giants whose songs simultaneously sound like the soundtrack to a particular moment in time while also embodying a timelessness that listeners will continue to appreciate decades from now.
Hittin' The Note
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Like a Sunday afternoon - this is how one will feel listening to Jennie Arnau's newest release, Chas...Like a Sunday afternoon - this is how one will feel listening to Jennie Arnau's newest release, Chasing Giants. The ten-song CD showcases her bluesy, country soulfful voice which is backed by some very talented musicians. Besides having her regular band behind her, Arnau is joined at various times by such artists as Eleanor Masterson on fiddle, Noam Pikelny on banjo and moe.'s Al Schnier on the mandolin, to name a few. Backing vocals come courtesy of Trina Shoemaker as well as Kevn Kinney of Drivin' N Cryin' fame.
Jennie Arnau's music is hard to pin down to a single genre, unless you count heartfelt lyrics with a grassroots, almost rock sound as a genre. Each of the songs on Chasing Giants offers something different and special but "Beautiful Life" and the title track stand out among the many other fine tunes. Chasing Giants is as much about what is not on the CD as what is: no noise, screaming and yelling masquerading as vocals of "empty" songs that rely on one beat. The CD opens with a light tracks called "For the Winter" and evolves in to a deeper musical journey with compelling numbers such as "Safe Tonight" and "Savior".
In this graceless day and age where mindless music seems to override meaningul lyrics and the singer's voice Jennie Arnau's Chasing Giants is a very refreshing change; it's similar to comparing the hectic days of the work week to a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
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Although she lives in New York City now, Jennie Arnau grew up ion South Carolina. Listening to her ...Although she lives in New York City now, Jennie Arnau grew up ion South Carolina. Listening to her new album, the title of which refers to the coastal town where Arnau used to vacation, one is reminded of the old adage about being able to take the girl out of the country but not the country out of the girl. Produced by Trina Shoemaker (Lucinda Williams, Queens of the Stone Age, Emmylou Harris), Mt. Pleasant curiously adds a hint of west coast folk to the prevailing Americana sound of songs such as "Float On", "You're Not Alone" and "Bottle Rocket". The best track, "To Live Without Love", features an airy guitar riff that nicely weaves in and out of Arnau's voice, which is strong without sacrificing its femininity. She might reside in the Big Apple, but to paraphrase James Taylor, in her mind Arnau's gone to Carolina.
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A healthy dose of country reverberates from the first single “You’re Not Alone” off of singer/songwr...A healthy dose of country reverberates from the first single “You’re Not Alone” off of singer/songwriter Jennie Arnau’s recent release, Mt. Pleasant. This year’s full-length album is destined to be a hit with college radio, Americana music fans and genre-riding cowgirls half at home in country western and half in ass-kickin’ rockand roll.
“Who Will Come With Me” is edgy and gutsy, filled with thick guitar and entrancing organ. Dramatically the tempo drops and “Holidays” shows a more seductive and jazzy sound from the singer. The album as a whole shows great depth and eclectic influences ranging from jazzy and light to dark and mysterious.
Not only does the great singer write solid songs, she has a tasteful band backing her. Adam Lerner’s guitar intro into “Margaret” flows effortlessly in to possibly the most appealing song of the album. When the mandolin and cello come about on “Hang The Moon,” the album sees it’s best instrumentation. Seductive piano, accompanies the deep rich tones of the cello and Jennie’s voice flows effortlessly atop of the masterpiece.
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On her fourth album, singer/songwriter Jennie Arnau puts some of her hometown South Carolina charm i...On her fourth album, singer/songwriter Jennie Arnau puts some of her hometown South Carolina charm into her folk-rock album Chasing Giants with the help of guests like Al Schnier (moe.) and Kevn Kinney. Whille her voice brings to mind pop-country stars Martina McBride and Bonnie Raitt, the catchy songwriting and instrumentals are decidedly more bluegrass and folk inspired. Bright and bubbly, most of Arnau's songs are optimistic portraits of youth and young love like "Bouncing Ball". The opening track "For the Winter" is a light, country tune with a sweet fiddle that compliments Arnau's twangy voice.
New York Press
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Move Over, Nashville In Section: PRESS Play » Posted By: Danny-Gold - It took moving from the S...Move Over, Nashville
In Section: PRESS Play » Posted By: Danny-Gold
It took moving from the South Carolina to New York City for Jennie Arnau to realize her heart was in country music. “When I came up here, I just wanted to get away from the South,” she says.
Arnau arrived in NYC with plans of trying out a new sound. “I didn’t really play my type of music, I played more rock and roll and hung out with a lot more grungier, college music type crowd,” she said. “But it took going away from all of it [the southern music scene] to find it.”
Flavor of the Week: Making a ComebackThe Choice is OursJe Suis Un Genius, BabyI Believe in EvilI Spy A SelloutMuck Code
Related to:new yorknypresscountry musicJennie Arnaunational undergroundchasinggiants
After a long transitional process, she started to write and play a lot more of the type of music she grew up on. Her upcoming album, Chasing Giants, is the fruit of this labor. The folksy alt country singer-songwriter is now halfway through a residency at the National Underground. Strangely enough, she even praises the city as a creative force for alt-country rockers.
“Up here in New York playing alt country, people are much more open to it then they were five years ago,” she said. “Now there’s a certain group of people who aren’t shy about saying they like Loretta Lynn and Willie nelson. There’s a community.” She praises Brooklyn as a haven for great country stand-up bass players and fiddle players.
After the residency, she tours down South for the first time. Also for the first time ever, she’ll be playing in her home town of Greenville. “It’s a little difficult for me to go on the road, I’m a creature of habit. I’m pretty nervous,” she said. “But once I get past Greenville I’m sure I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the ride.”
Her South Carolina twang ringing in my ears, I needed an opinion on an ever-present debate among my peers: best BBQ in NYC. We both agreed that there is no such thing as bad BBQ, and she mentioned a love for both Dinosaur BBQ and Hill Country BBQ, but that the deep fried Oreos at RUB BBQ put it over the top.
Jennie Arnau plays a residency at The National Underground March 24, April 14 & April 28. Her fourth album, Chasing Giants, will be released April 13.
Freight Train Boogie
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At first listen, this fourth release by New York-based former South Carolinian Arnau came off as app...At first listen, this fourth release by New York-based former South Carolinian Arnau came off as appearing a bit on the over produced country pop-ish side, as if it was trying too hard to make those all important mainstream radio playlists. Well, ‘Blaaat, wrong answer', no cigar for that one, not even close. Further investigation reveals that she's not over produced, she actually does sound the same/that good live, without all of the studio tweaks and fiddling around that can make a mediocre performer sound impressive. This time it's all the real McCoy. She's got an impressive set of pipes that can adapt to a multitude of styles, from a soaring anthem to determination and grit, “You're Not Alone”, to the neat jazz/blues fusion of “Holidays”. Drawing inspiration from personal experience, her songs have that flavour that can only be described as “real”, and her backing band does exactly as a good backing band will: they provide the musical loom upon which Arnau weaves her lyrical tapestries, embellishing without overpowering. This one deserves a real-time live listen.
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Jennie Arnau is a South Carolina native who moved to New York to nurture her music. At first glance ...Jennie Arnau is a South Carolina native who moved to New York to nurture her music. At first glance this album has a strong flavour of the West Coast with its harmonies and guitar licks. Look again and there’s the whiff of the South with barrel house piano and the distinct vocals.
‘You’re not alone’ has all these. Then there is the dense guitar and dark tones of ‘Who will come with me’ an indie anthem leavened by Hammond organ and a vocal that could be Siouxie Sioux in her Banshees pomp. ‘Holidays’ is a confessional where the vocals recall Natalie Merchant. Etc. etc.
As the cd continues the listener gets a sense that each track is an exploration of a different style, a magpie’s album. This could lead to a sense of fracture but the whole is maintained by excellent, consistent production (Trina Shoemaker) which gives the album shape and identity.
There is a sense that the cd dips in the middle; Margaret and Dustbowl days being slightly overwrought but it is soon on track again with the poppy ‘To live without love’ and the upbeat ‘Bottle Rocket’ and closes with three killers ‘Hit the Ground’ – sharp guitars and widescreen sounds, ‘Hang the Moon’ – sultry vocals and dripping piano and strings and the bonus track ‘Naked’ – complex rhythms and killer chorus and harmonies.
The Village Voice
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This local thrush’s imminent Superman Won’t Take the Call proves both her and her band capable of a ...This local thrush’s imminent Superman Won’t Take the Call proves both her and her band capable of a husky uplift and rhythmic wallop rarely heard in the female-folkie field. Nashville belters like Joe Dee Messina or Martina McBride would be proud to tear into small-town geo-sociological explorations as earthily popwise as “Tallulah Falls” or “The River” or the Carolina twister romance chronicle “One More Day.” And Jennie’s fine with blues riffs and Nirvana basslines, too., Chuck Eddy
My set list varies from venue to venue and depends if I play with my band or solo acoustic or just withe my pedal steel player (any is great for me). Typically, my set is 45 minutes to an hour and range from 8-10 songs with all original material.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.