On her debut album, Orchestra for the Moon, Halifax singer-songwriter Jenn Grant was a starry-eyed romantic in search of affection. Two years later, she released the melancholy Echoes, written and recorded after she’d found love—and lost it. And on 2011’s Honeymoon Punch, Grant came full circle, engaged and drunk on love all over again. But her latest release, The Beautiful Wild, is less of a romanticized honeymoon album than a contemplative exploration
of the heart’s unknown reaches.
The record features a handful of new additions: Harp and a boys’ choir complement “I Want You Back” and “Michael,” while sitar opens the aggressive “Gone Baby Gone.” Still, The Beautiful Wild’s most alluring feature is Grant’s smoky, jazz-tinged voice, nuanced with an East Coast folk sensibility. She employs it well on “I’ve Got Your Fire” and “White Dove,” two outstanding examples of Grant’s fine songwriting ability, which pair memorable hooks with simple but elegantly layered song structures.
Yet it’s on a track she didn’t write that Grant’s voice shines the brightest. About 40 seconds into closer “Green Grows the Lilac,” she breaks out into an inexplicably beautiful piano and vocal cover of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Sure, the preceding 11 tracks would have been a fine album on their own, but they’d have significantly less chance of inspiring a Rocky VII.
Playlist picks: “I’ve Got Your Fire,” “White Dove,” “Green Grows The Lilac”
Jenn Grant plays the Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge St.) on Nov. 24.