Angel Paint & Jeanie B
Songs of love and heartache straight from the heart with an ever present country feel. Country like Lucinda Williams is country; gritty and gutsy.
LOVE’S NOT THROUGH WITH JEANIE B! YET! LONG RENOWNED FOR HER CHILDREN’S RECORDINGS AND PERFORMANCES, THE CHICAGO BASED SINGER/SONGWRITER RETURNS TO MAKING GROWNUP MUSIC ON HER ECLECTIC NEW EP ‘CPR’
Long renowned and cherished as a recording artist and performer in the children’s music market, Jeanie B! makes a welcome return to writing and recording the kind of “music for grownups” that launched her career with CPR, an eclectic, emotionally compelling EP she is releasing under the collective band moniker Angel Paint with Jeanie B. The six track set is a tantalizing preview of a full length set she intends to release in the coming year.
Like her catalog of kid’s albums—which includes I’m A Kid (2005), Mommy Knows Best (2006) and Joy (2008)--CPR was produced by her and Andon Davis (working this time with co-producer and engineer Michael Krayniak) and performed by Jeanie and her band, bassist Jamie Martinez, drummer Paul Bivans and saxophonist Airan Wright. Davis also plays electric guitar and mandolin. Guests include keyboardist Alton Smith and harmony vocalist Stoli.
In the years before Jeanie B! became a renowned children’s music artist, Angel Paint made its debut with 2001’s critically acclaimed In The World; Country Standardtime Magazine wrote: “If Neil Young mated with The Indigo Girls, (in the unlikely event of that occuring) it would sound like Angel Paint. Jeanie B! is country the way Lucinda Williams is country. Full of grit and guts.”
Perhaps only an artist whose last recording in the children’s music realm had the fun-filled, cheery title Sugar Buzz! (2012) could survive the kind of emotional upheaval the Chicago based singer/songwriter has gone through these past few years—and then write and sing so emotionally and powerfully about the cycle of heartbreak and hope. Among other travails, shortly after divorcing her husband of 29 years, Jeanie fell in love with a man who then mysteriously disappeared. She’s now in a different relationship and couldn’t be happier. While her music covers the emotional (and stylistic!) gamut, it’s just her nature to be optimistic. To quote her favorite songwriter, renowned country music artist and composer Darrell Scott: “Love’s not through with me yet!”
No stranger to overcoming obstacles, Jeanie’s music career was nearly cut short (no pun intended) at the age of 19 when a summer factory job claimed 3 fingertips of this guitar players’ left hand. Told by surgeons she would never play guitar again, a friend fashioned plastic caps that she still wears to this day to press the strings down on the guitar and has made a career as a guitarist and songwriter despite the challenges. With no feeling in her fingers, all her feelings seem to come out in her heartfelt songs!
Over the past ten years, Jeanie has developed a unique dual life, teaching music to literally thousands of pre-school and special needs kids at up to five schools at a time while performing regularly (in ensembles of varying sizes from solo to up to 6 pieces) at iconic venues and events like Grant Park, Millennium Park, Chicago Botanic Gardens, Taste of Chicago, Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Kohl’s Children’s Museum, Chicago March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon and Fitzgerald’s and hundreds of other venues. The former film editor—who began performing her own songs at 15—was performing her “adult” songs in 2001 when she was offered the opportunity to run parent-child music classes for pre-schoolers. Jeanie began teaching several classes a week, entertaining up to 14 kids at a time and their parents in a small, intimate classroom environment, and her children’s music career was born.
One of Jeanie B!’s trademark in her children’s music is stylistic diversity—The tracks on CPR are similarly diverse, starting with the folk/pop/blues of the title track (about where she is now, with her heart being revived after those brutal losses), continuing on through the power rocker “Ride Away To Nowhere” (infused with a “Born To Be Wild”-like freewheeling spirit) and the thoughtful and soulful mid-tempo pop ballad “Starting To Forget,” about the ambivalence of fading memories. Other tracks include the emotionally charged pop/rocker “It’s You I’m Missing,” the fiery country roadhouse rocker “It’s All Good” and the heartbreaking closing ballad “Farewell.” “I have focused mainly on the kids genre and my own (now teenage) boys this past decade,” Jeanie says, “and having recently gone through a divorce, fallen in love, been abandoned and learned to love again, it was time to write about love and heartache. I know I’m not the only one to have gone through times like this so my goal is for these new songs to resonate with an adult audience. Most of the tunes are about the ups and downs and the processing of these recent experiences, but one of my favorites, ‘Ride Away To Nowhere,’ is a love song about riding motorcycles! Can’t just write love songs about people now can I?”
Music Emissions gives it 4.5/5 stars!! Jeanie B! has had a remarkable career and life dealing with a lot of adversity.
A factory job accident at 19 cost her three fingertips. Plastic caps enabled her to keep playing guitar. There have been lost loves including a divorce after 29 years of marriage.
She has made music for diverse audiences. Jeanie has made a number of childrens albums. Now she's back to playing for adults along with her band.
This six-song EP is a solid group of songs. The title track is the weakest of the songs, but it gets better after a few listens.
The best song is "Ride Away to Nowhere." This is hard rocking song about Jeanie's love of motorcycles. The theme may conjure up visions of Steppenwolf. But Jeanie cites Neil Young among her influences.
Like Young Jeanie feels comfortable using country in her music. "Starting To Forget" shows this aspect of her music. A good middle section shows she has a knack for song structure.
A couple of more knockout tracks on the level of the motorcycle song would be welcome, but she's not too far off. The change in tempo on "It's You I'm Missing" makes for a more successful song. This song is enhanced by Airan Wright's saxophone playing.
The band supports Jeanie well as she provides powerful voice work. And power is fully evident on "It's All Good." She expresses her desire for a strong man and the playing punctuates her portrait of a how man should act.
Wright provides good background on "Farewell." It's a sad song, which reminds us relationships don't always last. It's also the final track on the EP, making for a bittersweet flavor to the songs. There's no one better suited than Jeanie to sing about the ups and downs.
It leaves me looking for additional intriguing emotional journeys in her "grown up" catalog in the future.
Skope Magazine writes in June 2013: Chicago-based songwriter Jeanie B! is taking a respite from her acclaimed children’s music album making to reflect and revive, on her new album, CPR. Inspired by a series of personal obstacles over the past several years, the six-track EP confronts issues of separation, loss and love renewed. Jeanie wrote: “…having recently gone through a divorce, fallen in love, been abandoned and found love again, it was time to write about love and heartache.” The EP marks the group’s first album since their 2001 debut album, In The World, but sticks to their formula of Pop/Country/Folk fusion musicality over Jeanie’s emotive, autobiographical lyrical matter.
Title track “CPR” contains slight Pop Country leanings spiked with saxophone fills, Blues electric guitar work and lyrical message of love renewed. Vocally, Jeanie evokes a young Chrissie Hynde, while a vein of vintage Chicago groove runs just underneath with a prototypical contemporary radio Country vibe as foundation. Horn blasts and soaring electric work usher in “Ride Away To Nowhere.” This upbeat rocker of a track maintains a tinge of Honky Tonk with slide guitar work and picking tandem in what is essentially a love song about motorcycle riding (“Can’t just write love songs about people now can I?”). “Starting To Forget” continues the autobiographical ethos of the tracks in what shows Jeanie reminiscing about her former loves and the healing process that follows. The demure musicality coincides with the vocal vein with opening sax, slight backing percussion and an undercurrent of even slighter acoustic guitar strums and electric picks. The down tempo nature and autobiography continues with “It’s You I’m Missing” with piano and electric interplay just underneath the unanswered questions ethos of the track. The chorus breaks the tempo with full band soaring over Jeanie’s proclamation of loss lyrical matter. “It’s All Good” is another upbeat rocking Honky Stomp track with more Blues-laden guitar notes and urgent percussion work. This one illustrates the proper arrangement of the album with appropriate peaks and valleys. Backing vocals bolster Jeanie on “Farewell” which seems to finalize the thoughts and feelings of the album with the acceptance and finality that comes along with saying goodbye. Again, arrangement is proper as this track finishes the cyclical nature of the thoughts and emotions of the albums.
Simply, this is an album devoted to catharsis. The addressing of wounds; the unanswered questions and the eventual healing are all present themes through these short six tracks. Musically, it doesn’t sound like the group has missed a step since their initial outing 12-years ago. All in all, this is an album about hurt and recovery, loss and gain and the bevy of everything that comes in between.