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JENNIFER CROOK - Carnforth Station

JENNIFER CROOK - Carnforth Station
Transatlantic Roots TRJC009

As someone who enjoys things related to steam – transport that is - I was immediately drawn to the title of Jennifer Crook’s new CD, Carnforth Station. After a day out chasing steam trains we would often finish in the town to watch the engines being put to bed. Hopefully this was going to be a thematic work about trains, but it isn’t. Luckily there are lots of atmospheric shots of Jennifer surrounded by steam, photographed mostly by the name of the moment, Elly Lucas, although some are credited to Rob Bozas. Obviously there are echoes of Brief Encounter as the film was shot at Carnforth.

What we have here is a collection of self penned songs about travelling and journeys. Expertly played by Jennifer, mostly on harp, with cello and fiddle from Beth Porter and Mike Cosgrave providing guitar and accordion, there is no doubt the songs show an increasing maturity of writing. There are guest appearances from slide guitarist Kevin Brown and Miranda Sykes.

The highlight for me is the title track, about the loss of the great steam trains; the way these beasts had life and how we now realise the missed opportunities of rail travel. The Net is another fine piece, using the sea as its setting, and the pure nostalgia in Apples can’t fail to grab you. The slide guitar accompanying the simplistic sounds of the harmonies on Torch is just right, as is the cello on Only The River. However, I do feel the instruments get in the way of the vocals on some tracks.

There are a couple of tracks which just don’t do it for me, but in general this really is an enjoyable listen. I can imagine some of the songs being sung by Leonard Cohen (this statement is meant to be a compliment as I am a fan of his). There is a simplicity of vocal style which echoes his and a real quality in the voice.

This project is a result of a Pledge Campaign so should sell well, especially if the trio get out on the road to promote it. I am looking forward to catching them live, even if it’s not about trains.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 105 of The Living Tradition magazine.