Mairi Orr connects both sides of the Atlantic on her debut full length album. The Scottish Folk and American Bluegrass traditions are the cornerstones, yet what makes the album richer is Orr’s gathering of other connected styles. The first three tracks offer a whirlwind journey through these influences; from the sombre and atmospheric ‘The Drover’, through vibrant swinging bluegrass of ‘Don’t You wed Another Man’ and then into the Southern tinged Swing of the title track ‘Jenny Does Burn’. It is an exciting journey to go with her through the album.
All of the songs are Orr’s own compositions, despite feeling like many could have been handed down through generations. Likewise the arrangements are engaging, Mattie Foulds on production is a sure hand and gives the album a big and immediate feel that holds all of these varied songs together really well.
Mairi is first and foremost a storyteller, that must be what makes the songs feel so rooted, her knack of getting into character evokes deeper emotions and meanings that a casual observer could.
Musically it is also a belter, the band she has put together includes Steven Polwart, Mattie Foulds and Danny Hart. Together they explore the contrasting and complementary elements of the different styles from the great swathe of geography and history that the album takes in.
Mairi Orr is definitely one to watch, Jenny Does Burn is bursting with ideas and talent.