Review of Auto Janz and Andrea June’s Latest Album

autojanszandreajune

September 28, 2012

Musical collaboration provides lingering ear-worm

Auto Janz and Andrea June
13-track, album, (MP3 320/FLAC), $10
Released January 2012
Recorded in 1Ton Studios, Victoria, B.C.

Reviewed by Hanna Leavitt

Local musicians Auto Jansz and Andrea June deliver a highly entertaining collection of tribute songs about extraordinary, everyday women from Canada’s past.

The CD’s haunting title track, Red Lights, Money and Wine, is a tribute to the gritty realities of the dying days of Winnipeg’s bordellos at the turn of the century. The exquisite harmonies of the opening four songs are reminiscent of the Emmylou Harris/ Linda Ronstadt/ Dolly Parton sound of the Trio album of 1987. Ian Tyson comes to mind with the Canadiana mood evoked by I’m in Alberta. The harmonica intro of Hanna makes me think of Murray McLauchlan. And Sarah McLachlan could easily have sung Track 10, Tide.

This CD combines the singing/songwriting of Auto on the first half, Andrea June on the second. Spell-binding harmonies are showcased initially. The mood changes in the latter portion of the CD with more experimental songs such as Mary Shelley and Bon Nuit. Occasionally, rhyming schemes often feel forced and predictable, a little too easy.

I’m a writer of creative nonfiction, so I’ve got my own biases. If this album were a work of CNF, I’d commend it as an excellent first draft. Finding one’s unique voice is always the challenge, no matter what the creative endeavour. I’m anxious to hear how the pair’s musical identities develop in future efforts. And the good news is, the duo is taking the fall off to develop a new CD. Check out their new website autojanzandandreajune.com. They’ll tell you how to help them out.

In the meantime, I can’t get Track 6, Long Gone, out of my head. Now that’s a signature Jansz-June tune.

 

Hanna Leavitt is in the first year of her MFA in Writing

 

 

 

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