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Jenny Dragon | A Fair Souvenir

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Rock: Americana Folk: Jazzy folk Moods: Mood: Fun
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A Fair Souvenir

by Jenny Dragon

This album seems to defy category, dabbling in a nostalgia that combines jazz, blues, country, folk, doo wop, and rock influences, and often shifting genres to best serve the story of a song.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Newsreel
1:05 album only
2. Boom Boom
4:01 $0.99
3. Johnny Chapman
3:07 $0.99
4. Be That as It May
2:52 $0.99
5. Slow Ride West
3:26 $0.99
6. Girl Blue
2:03 $0.99
7. The Commercial
0:26 $0.99
8. Hinges
2:39 $0.99
9. Shadow Puppy
2:59 $0.99
10. Dorothy
2:54 $0.99
11. The Misfit Sleeps
3:14 $0.99
12. Jenny Dragon
3:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Performing or writing songs with someone will inevitably bring you closer to them. Whether it's touring in a smelly van for three weeks or trying to finish a gem of a song with that last killer line, there's a lot to absorb, tolerate and learn about your fellow musical comrades in those twilight hours, much like how a family gives each other unconditional love, despite not having the choice to be together. But imagine working with someone in such close quarters and only later finding out that you're indeed related. Such a remarkable story happened to the core of local revivalists Jenny Dragon, and it's only made their unique vision stronger.

We begin in 1997, when Jenny Dragon vocalists Jodi Jean Amble and Sarah Goldstein were both theatre majors at LaCrosse, WI's Viterbo University. "Sarah was a couple of years behind me in school and from the beginning of our friendship, I always referred to her as my younger sister," says Amble. The pair appeared in a school production of Chekov's Three Sisters as well. Amble recalls, "I was Irina and Sarah was Masha... Irina is hopeful and full of life and Masha is dark and brooding (to generalize). Jenny Dragon has self described our music as 'heavy whimsy' and Sarah and I have often mused that Sarah brings more of the heavy and I bring more of the whimsy."

The duo lived in Chicago together briefly, but different paths seperated them for much longer, including a stint for Amble to teach English in South Korea and Goldstein's relocation to Colorado for a winter. Eight years passed and eventually in 2009, after a one-off performance together in Spring Green, WI, they decided to make a go of it as a fully-functioning band, and Jenny Dragon was born. Amble and Goldstein then each contributed band members into the fold: Goldstein met her guitarist fiance Brian Sharpe while working together, and he fronts his own Brian Sharpe and the Associates; bassist Ed Sullivan had played with Amble in a gypsy-jazz act; Goldstein had collaborated with guitarist Drew Pompano in a duo called Square the Circle; drummer Janet Cramer came from Amble's bossa nova group and her own Jodi Jean Band, and brings plenty of Latin and blues experience to the group; violinist Cathy Starr and banjo player Phil Vickers contributed to another project of Sharpe and Goldstein's (Derek Nelson and the Musicians) and before they knew it, Jenny Dragon was an veritable army of veteran musicians.

But it wasn't until this past summer that Goldstein and Amble discovered there was much more to their sister-like bond than expected. "I was in Brule, WI with my Mum Jane and Grandma Brunner (Dorothy)," recalls Goldstein. "Hanging out, being eaten by mosquitos, having some moonshine with Uncle Joe. Casually, Mom was flipping through the Brunner genealogy - this is my late Grandpa Roman Brunner's side of the family, all from the Spring Green, WI area - and she came across the name Chuck Amble." It turns out Chuck and his wife Judy were Jodi's godparents, and Judy was Goldstein's mother's cousin. A once-in-a-lifetime coincidence was now just further proof that Jenny Dragon had a deeper reason for existing.

The "heavy whimsy" on A Fair Souvenir is an incredibly fitting description for the enchanting mixture of dark humor and light-hearted jangle. The album's first proper track, the hard-swinging "Boom Boom," takes on America's history with nuclear testing and the album's tongue-in-cheek nods to apocalyptic imagery don't end there. Whether it's in the grind of Starr's violin or the almost gothically operatic vocals that open "Johnny Chapman," there's a certain foreboding mystery throughout Souvenir that one can't help but get sucked into. Though nostalgic in its tone and presentation (the disc itself resembles a vinyl record, and was recorded in just two days to 1/4-inch tape at Hi-Style Studio), it's far from gimmicky. In fact, it raises a much deeper question: Is the Fair Souvenir the music itself - that sprung from Amble and Goldstein's unique bond - or is it the family ties that were discovered after starting Jenny Dragon? Either way, both are genuinely newsworthy.



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