jennie stearns
Gig Seeker Pro

jennie stearns

Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"3 and a half stars"

Sing Desire... (Blue Corn Music)
This music has an old house around it and Jennie Stearns is sitting on a chair, up late, looking out a window. A longing haunts these songs, faint hum of electrical wires outside. Stearns's lyrics seem intently inhabited one moment, then spill like beads from a broken string the next. A Lucinda weariness in her voice that effectively contradicts the lightness of her singing. Old Crow Medicine Show's Willie Watson joins Jennie for two duets. Chad Crumm co-produced with Stearns, adds touches of atmosphere and surprise. Light on the drums, this is an acoustic record ? guitars, bass, touches of banjo and fiddle, keys, even cornet ? with Crumm's archived sounds widening the landscape. The songs go together well, almost to a fault at times by their seamlessness. Stearns's next record is already finished, produced by Gurf Morlix, and she says it's the one she's highest on. Sing Desire is one to be proud of, too.

Reviewd by Doug Lang, Freight Train Boogie
- Freight train Boogie

"Dirty Linen"

"Stearns' voice enters further forward and richer than it has ever been heard before."
-featured in the feb/mar issue of Dirty Linen
...on stands jan 06

For full feature go to

- Dirty Linen

"Fish Records/UK"

Although I was vaguely aware of Jennie Stearns (she was a founding member of ‘Donna the Buffalo’), I hadn’t heard any of her material so when a couple of her albums arrived I was really looking forward to hearing them. After my first listen of ‘Sing Desire’ I thought it was good, but not exceptionally so......this just goes to show how wrong first impressions can be, as after the second (and closer) listen through it was obvious that ‘Sing Desire’ is an exceptionally fine album.

The most striking thing is the overall balance; it’s an atmospheric and fairly lyrically downbeat collection, but rather than being the obvious purely acoustic affair, the instrumentation and arrangements are varied and they give the album variety and a spark that makes it stand out from the crowd.

While the songs may be full of strong but fairly bleak imagery, the disc is packed with attractive and memorable melodies that really stick with you – this contrast makes the disc incredible easy to listen to and the balance of ‘dark and light’ is perfect.

Almost every review you could read for Jennie will liken her voice to Lucinda Williams, and it’s a fair comparison as they share some vocal traits, but Jennie has a slightly more delicate approach that really suits the open arrangements on ‘Sing Desire’.

There are many standout tracks here, and it’s an album that works well as a sequenced collection, so picking a couple of tracks to highlight is difficult, but ‘Early Train’ is a great song, strong lyrics and hooks combined with an imaginative arrangement; and the title track is a superbly crafted song with a melody that stays with you long after the song has finished.

‘Sing Desire’ is one of the most creative and thoughtfully constructed singer/songwriter discs to come our way over the past few years, and one that really stands out from the pack. Highly recommended. 
- Neil Pierson

"Heaven Pop Magazine/ Holland"

Just before Christmas I received an e-mail by an American singer I had never heard of called Jennie Stearns, asking me if she could send me her new CD Sing Desire. Of course people are always allowed to send me stuff as long as their expectations aren't too high as we only have limited space in Heaven and there is a lot of competition. Still there was something that really made me curious about Jennie's CD, especially when I discovered she was the wife of Rich Stearns, member of one of my favorite American folk bands of all time, The Horseflies, who had seemingly suddenly disappeared after 1994.

When the CD arrived about a week later, I immediately put in into my CD-player Within the first thirty seconds I was won over. What a beautiful atmosphere, what a beautiful song, but above all what a beautiful voice, like a more vulnerable Lucinda Williams with a hint of Emmylou Harris. And all in a perfect setting that at the same time was more rootsy as well as more modern than on Lucinda's latest offering. I was deeply moved, a feeling that remained for the whole album because all the songs on Sing Desire were stunningly beautiful, each one with its own unique elements to support that intensely melancholic voice. A trumpet here, a violin there, a harmonium, banjo or basic salsa-rhythm, every element just as imaginative as tasteful. Elements that also stay interesting, so that I now, twenty-odd spins later, don't hesitate to declare Sing Desire to be more pure, more heartbreaking, more imaginative than either Lucinda William's Essence or Rise by Kim Richey .
4 stars ****
- Pieter Wijnstekers

"Sing Desire/Miles Of Music"

"Jennie Stearns has a rich sorrowful tone reminiscent of the divine Jane Siberry. And much like Emmylou Harris when she is in her most inspired and haunting mode, Stearns has a powerful, yet reserved, ability to move the soul. Her highly personal and poetic lyrics weave through a sparsely arranged musical bed punctuated with lazy harmonium, playful banjo, muted coronet, and gypsy fiddle. Sing Desire is both earthy and ethereal; you could say it's new folk from the Americana highway to heaven."
- Miles Of Music

"Live Review/Take Root/Holland"

"Jennie Stearns was a pleasant surprise, with her material that reminded me of Gillian Welch she managed to keep the attention of the visitors that showed no sign of fatigue, even after 8 hours of music somewhere around midnight you could hear a pin drop during her performance."

"Oor Magazine/Holland"

Jennie Stearns is the name of The Americana discovery of this spring and she is brought to us by the same enthusiastic people where Rod Picott and Mary Gauthier have their fame to thank to . So this means guaranteed success. Although it would be just a little too much to mention her name in the same breath as Emmylou and Lucinda that doesn't mean that Sing Desire is not a dream of a record because it is. You can also call the instrumentation perfect not only because of the diverse variations in acoustic guitars but especially because of the surprising combination with cornet, banjo, harmonium, spinet organ, violin and the programmed drums. This late bloomer (expression for someone who starts something successful after 30) from the Ithaca area in New York has area neighbor Johhny Dowd playing on her record. Jennie Composes like Gillian Welch in the earliest American folk tradition. Compared to the ancient ballads her lyrics are more impressionistic. In her sensitivity for all kinds of sadness she maybe stays a little bit too long in that atmosphere. Now and then a bit more rougher emotionality would have been good if you ask me. But for everyone who likes romanticized sadness Jennie's CD is the one to get.
Geert Hendrickx, OOR Magazine, Holland
- Geert Hendrickx, OOR Magazine, Holland


*Sing Desire released on Blue Corn Music Oct 2005
featuring duets with Willie Watson/Old Crow Medicine show
*Bird's Fall to be released early 2006 produced by Gurf Morlix/featuring Jim Lauderdale
HearMusic Vol. 8 : Between Stories (Starbucks compilation, 2002)
Anathema movie soundtrack (2002)
*Tin Roof Mystery (rerelease)/Live in Buffalo: Rich & Jennie Stearns (2000)
*Mourning Dove Songs (2000)
*Angel with a Broken Wing (1998)
*Running with Scissors: Live at the Rongo (1996)
Tin Roof ( 1994)
White Tape: Donna The Buffalo (1989)
We Are Each Other's Angels vol 1 & 2 Nov 03 (Compilation)
supporting 'Hungry for music' with June Carter Cash,
Ron Sexmith, Slaid Cleeves, Nancy Griffith, Iris Dement, and more.
Paste Sampler #3 (National Music Magazine) Nov 03

Sings on :
Madder Rose/Hello June Fool Cooking Vinyl 2001
Saint Low/Saint Low/Cooking Vinyl 2002
Mary Lorson and Saint Low/ Tricks for Dawn Cooking Vinyl 2003
Mary Lorson/Realistic 2006 Cooking Vinyl
Douglas September/IO 2000


Feeling a bit camera shy


Jennie Stearns is a classic American songwriter. By turns heartbreaking and hopeful, her songs are evocative, poignant and haunting. Quintessentially human. Her strong yet intimate vocal style and the vivid imagery portrayed by her lyrics gently draw the listener into her world. Despite the often sombre mood, you'll find yourself strangely at one with her perspective, akin to the intimate atmosphere of a late-night red-wine-confessional with a lifelong, much-loved friend.

While her earlier albums (1998's "Angel with a Broken Wing" and 2000's "Mourning Dove Songs") displayed the influences of the country / old-time music scene in her adopted hometown of Ithaca, it is "Sing Desire", her most recent release, that truly shows her blossoming talent. "Sing Desire" ventures boldly into new musical territory, and it is this album that has garnered acclaim from press and radio as far afield as the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Japan.

“I’ve been drawn to dark and beautiful ballads ever since I was a kid. It’s the sadness that I sense I’m somehow connected to. There’s something soothing about the ballads, too, a desire to make everything ok”, she says. And while "Sing Desire" continues this obsession, it's tremendously adventurous in terms of its arrangements and production. Stearns credits much of this to her co-producer, Chad Crumm, who she teamed up with for his huge library of archived sound as well as his formidable musicianship and production skills. Crumm set glinting accents of sampled sound and unexpected instruments against Stearns’ low and lonesome vocals. Touches of spinet, muted cornet, moments of feedback, and even a lost fragment of an old Japanese television soundtrack add a sonic richness to her gentle singing without ever overshadowing it. The album also features Willie Watson (from band-of-the-moment Old Crow Medicine Show) singing two duets with Jennie.

So far Jennie's albums have all been self-released, sold via her website and at shows - very much a one-woman (and friends) cottage industry. Now though, as her two children get a bit older, she's looking forward to concentrating a lot more on her music career and is working to ensure that her next album will have full US and European distribution, proper press / radio promotion and tour support. "My next record is already nearly done," she explains, "and it's definitely the one I'm proudest of. Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Slaid Cleaves) is producing it and playing on it. He's been a pure pleasure to work with and so supportive." Alongside Gurf, the album (provisionally titles "Shattered Glass And Roses") also features drummer Rick Richards (Slaid Cleaves), and Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale singing on two tracks. 2005 should be the year that Jennie Stearns takes her place alongside the Americana heroines she's so often compared to.