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Monday 20 May 2024

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Roses – Jadea Kelly.

Aug 17, 2022

 If you are a fan of contemporary folk music with a country tinge then this may be for you. Jadea (pronounced ‘Jay-Da’) is a Canadian former winner of the ‘Contemporary Singer Of The Year’ at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and it’s easy to see why. She splits her time between Ontario and Los Angeles and clearly both places have had their influences on her music. She has worked with the likes of Joey Landreth and Judy Collins and was a prime mover in the 2018 ‘Canada Covers Tom Petty’ project so her pedigree is not in doubt.

There are thirteen songs here, most of which had their gestation during the pandemic lockdown so it’s little surprise that most are reflective in nature, like ‘Driveway’ with  rather a Nashville feel to it, and its deep longing for a settled home life. ‘Pitch Black’ is pop/rock with its ‘…I’m at my best in the dark…’ lyrics leaving you in no doubt what the song is about, very late-night radio friendly and there’s some nice barrelhouse piano in there too. ‘Any Old Boat’ has a raw and rootsy flavour with delightful use of banjo and dobro giving it a back porch atmosphere.

Jadea has a soft clear voice in a high register but, for me, she shows a particular power and maturity in her voice when she makes use of her lower register in songs like ‘Running To You’ and ‘When I Fly’. If I have to pick a favourite I would have to choose ‘Across The Stairs’. The storytelling style has a little Suzanne Vega in there somewhere and the subtle use of steel guitar from Aaron Goldstein is absolutely sublime. The market for this kind of song writing is crowded but Jadea is touring in Europe this autumn and it’s to be hoped that this will bring her more attention.

Philip Thomas.

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