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Jennifer Warnes - The Well

  by Lisa Torem

published: 25 / 3 / 2016

Jennifer Warnes - The Well
Label: BMG
Format: CD


Impressive eighth album from Academy Award-winning singer/songwriter Jennifer Warnes, which while released in the United States in 2001, has only seen a British release now

A spectacle of nature with a gravely bottom situated in Austin, Texas prompted Jennifer Warnes album, ‘The Well.’ But it wasn’t just the actual spring water and flora that brought her back there time and time again, but it was what she felt there: a strong sense of solitude which spurred her creativity. 'Jacob’s Well' became a metaphor for poetry, open-heartedness and optimism. American audiences had the opportunity to enjoy the material on ‘The Well’ because it was released in the U.S. in 2001; unfortunately her many UK fans did not have that opportunity — until now. Warnes is a two-time Grammy winner. She garnered an Academy Award for her duet with Joe Cocker on 1982’s ‘Up Where We Belong’ from the American film, 'An Officer and a Gentleman' and another for her duet with Bill Medley (The Righteous Brothers) on ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ in 1987 for 'Dirty Dancing'. She’s a longtime friend of Leonard Cohen and contributed to seven of his albums as a backing vocalist and vocal arranger. And she also tributed the Canadian poet with ‘Famous Blue Raincoat,’ which featured talented guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. And you get a deep sense of where she’s been and who and what she loves and respects with ‘The Well’ on which she co-wrote ‘The Panther’ with Doyle Bramhall and covered Tom Waits' brassy ‘Invitation to the Blues,’ celebrating each song with warmth and a genuine love for the stories they weave. Her duet with Bramhall on ‘You Don’t Know Me’ might trigger memories of the Ray Charles version, but it’s without question her own brand of unfiltered candour that sets them apart. Other subtle treats occur when Arlo Guthrie guests on his penned ‘Patriot’s Dream’. Whether Warnes sings her own songs or covers, she has carefully chosen material in which the stories are meaningful and moving and the lyrics were meant to be sung. Her cover of Billy Joel’s ‘And So It Goes’ is a good example of how she extracted the truthfulness of the story, even when that requires a restrained rather than boisterous approach. Her ‘Too Late Love Comes’ is haltingly heartbreaking. ‘Prairie Melancholy’, which is another co-write, has some of the most poignant lyrics ever conveyed in a pop song and ‘The Nightingale’, in keeping with the album’s general theme, accentuates Warnes’s appreciation for all things natural. ‘La Luna Brilla’ is sung beautifully (and without over productive fanfare) in lilting Spanish. The simple arrangement offsets some of the bluesier fare in this album that dares to explore multiple genres. She returns to Austin to record a new album which will be released later in the year, but until then, Jennifer Warnes’ eighth album has plenty of great material to savour as it is comprised of one-off duets, poetic images, virtuosic solos, soulful vocals and, most importantly, themes that demand self-reflection.

Track Listing:-
1 The Well
2 It's Raining
3 Prairie Melancholy
4 Too Late Love Comes
5 Invitation To The Blues
6 And So It Goes
7 The Panther
8 You Don't Know Me
9 The Nightingale
10 Patriot's Dream
11 The Well (Reprise)

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