Jennifer Grassman | Serpent Tales & Nightingales

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United States - Texas

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Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Classical: Opera Moods: Featuring Piano
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Serpent Tales & Nightingales

by Jennifer Grassman

"Tempestuous pianos, crashing drums and velvety vocals." - Joey Guerra, The Houston Chronicle. This album "will appeal to Tori Amos fans who also love musical theater." ~ Sara Cress, 29-95.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Search
3:29 $0.99
2. Guildencrantz
0:53 $0.99
3. Red
3:24 $0.99
4. Praying To the Walls
3:48 $0.99
5. Blackbird
4:40 $0.99
6. The Haunting
4:24 $0.99
7. Avuncular
3:04 $0.99
8. Mercy
4:05 $0.99
9. A Chance to Die
3:03 $0.99
10. Glass
5:09 $0.99
11. Little Bird
5:15 $0.99
12. Founding
2:44 $0.99
13. The Mad Mad March Hare Acoustic Exposition
2:44 $0.99
14. The Bedroom Door
4:17 $0.99
15. The Promise
2:41 $0.99
16. Snake
4:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Fan & Media Reviews:

Serpent Tales & Nightingales, the new disc from Houston singer Jennifer Grassman, is her most ambitious work to date. It features lush production, soaring vocals and dark undertones. But the journey, she says, is ultimately uplifting . . . a swirl of lush arrangements and emotional, tumultuous lyrics. There are tempestuous pianos, crashing drums and velvety vocals . . .

There's a spiritual quality to several songs on Serpent Tales & Nightingales, but it's not an overtly religious album. The music is artful and accessible. Red is whimsical and clever; The Search has a devious charm; and Praying to the Walls is anchored by searing guitar work (courtesy of Jason Greenberg, Grassman's husband). Mathias Blad, of Swedish metal group Falconer, contributes vocals to The Promise, a swooning duet fit for an epic love story.

Jennifer Grassman has taken the next bold step in her burgeoning musical career with her third CD, "Serpent Tales & Nightingales." New territories are charted as she experiments with genres, styles, multiple trackings, and duets. Each song of Jennifer Grassman's tells a story replete with plot, voice, and character; from the anger of "The Search" to the posthumous playfulness of "The Haunting" to the heartwrenching vows of "The Promise," she has proven once again that she is ready to take her place among the giant female vocal and songwriting talents of Amos, McKinnett, Bush, and Enya. A must-have addition to any collection.

With her voice, her playing, and her obvious songwriting capabilities, Jennifer Grassman could easily stamp out simple pop tunes, and with the right machine behind her be very successful with them. But instead, she composes intricate, challenging, moving yet melodic songs that remain entertaining and accessible. She easily veers away from the pleasant and diatonic, evoking strong moods and reactions with powerful yet beautiful uses of dissonance especially in her piano playing, which alone could be enough of a talent to take her places.

Some of her lyric stories remind one of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, even down to the titles ("Mad, Mad March Hare Acoustic Exposition"). Yet, there are moments where the piano playing is similar to the starkness of Terry Allen's Juarez suite. Her music similarly evokes multiple emotions simultaneously to these composers, where there is joy and humor found in darkness . . .



to write a review

Bastiaan de Groot

Serpent Tales & Nightingales: an album that will instantly grip you and never le
It is hard to put a single label on Texas based artist Jennifer Grassman's latest album, Serpent Tales & Nightingales. Some songs are haunting, some are cheerful, some dark. Some songs, such as ´The Search´ and ´Blackbird´ (the latter with guest vocals by Mathias Blad), include drums and guitars that make these creations resemble rock songs, while others feature very little instruments. However, all tracks on the album, with the exception of the short and lyrical ´Guildencrantz´, reveal Grassman´s love for the piano. Even on songs that feature prominent drums and guitars, the piano is not used merely as an instrument supporting her voice or the other instruments, binding them together. It is never pushed to the back. The piano is often used to create a framework for the song, from the silliness of 'The Mad Mad March Hare Acoustic Exposition' to the beautifully rolling piano of 'Snake'. Grassman also attempted to experiment with the piano, which manifests itself, for instance, as the 'blackbird's call' on the song 'Blackbird'.
Another thing all songs have in common is the quality of the lyrics. Every song tells a story, every line is placed exactly where it should. Certain lines could hold their own without any instruments or vocals. Combined with instruments and vocals that suit these lines perfectly, they rise to be pure brilliance. From the previously mentioned 'rolling' of ‘Snake’: "Louder than the quaking thunder of a thousand horses stampeding the Shadow Valley of a Thousand Horses", to ‘The Promise’, which is a beautiful poem in it's entirety.
Although I have not often mentioned Jennifer Grassman's vocals, that does not mean they are not worth mentioning. On the contrary, Grassman's vocals are what make the songs whole. As the instruments and lyrics rise and fall, as they are swayed by the soul of the songs, so are her vocals. They perfectly match the songs, expressing the lyrics, conveying them in such a way, that you are forced to hear them, hear what Grassman has to say.
This interaction between the soul of the songs and the instruments, lyrics and vocals is what makes the songs and thus the album great. This is why you will listen to Serpent Tales & Nightingales, have the songs grow on you and listen to them many more times after that. This is why this album deserves a 5/5.

Of course, I am no respected music critic, so why should you believe me? How about the positive reviews this album has received from people who are respected music critics? However, you don't have to take their word as truth either. Just go to Jennifer Grassman's website, where you can listen to snippets of all songs as well as listen to one song in it's entirety, which changes every week. Visit and hear for yourself why this album truly deserves the positive reviews.