Klef Notes

Music Reviews

Jayna Jennings’ “Courtyards & Aviaries Part 1”

It is not often that we get a female artist in this decade of music that encompasses style, grace, looks, AND talent.  So, it was so fitting for Jayna Jennings to use J. W. Godward’s “Days of Sappho” as the inspiration behind her album’s cover art to which she is photographed – the original art by J. W. Godward depicts class, refinement, and eloquence and it frames Jayna Jennings’ music and image perfectly. 

In saying the above, you can imagine my excitement when I was introduced to Jayna Jennings by Music Hour UK an ah-mazing indie music promotional site based in the UK with international recognition www.musichour.uk.  Jennings was their face for August.  And even though she has the beauty to get VOGUE’s attention, it is her music that pulls us into her stratosphere. 

An American singer/songwriter/musician hailing from Georgia USA, Jennings penned her first song in 2011.  But it wasn’t until she left the Americana duo “Copper River” in 2014 that the music ripple effect began to take shape. 

Stepping out on her own, Jennings released a Christian music EP called “Safe and Sound” in 2016 that garnered her much recognition.  To date, she has received attention from major social media platforms, a fan-following, and airplay with one of Indie Music’s most popular and happening radio stations Limehead Radio www.limeheadradio.co.uk

Recorded at Flossymonk Studio in Cummings, Georgia, Jennings’ recent release is entitled “Courtyards & Aviaries Part 1” – a nine track album that features genuine Americana music blended with some elements of Country, Blues, Pop Rock, and Soul.  Instrumentally assisting in executing Jennings’ musical vision is:  Diane Sharp, George Sandler of Brother Pudge and Dream Police, Matthew Mundy of Aquarium Rescue Unit, Mark Mundy of Across the Wide, and Don McCook of Squinting Patrick. 

The track list of “Courtyards & Aviaries Part 1” is as follows: 

1. Maybe

2. Hold On

3. Midnight Morning

4. Rest in Times of Running

5. Frozen

6. Spaghetti

7. Please

8. Love Me Back

9. Maybe (reprise) 

This is a review of “Courtyards & Aviaries Part 1” a collection of songs that plays like chapters from a romance novel all musically expressing the confidence, courage, strength, and undying love of a woman – the six songs featured in this review highlights this musical theme. 

Do you know the feeling you get when you are on a rollercoaster and it is slowly climbing up, up, up, slowly, and then you hold your arms up and spiral down?  Well, that is what “Maybe” does musically as Jennings incorporated a great technique – the element of surprise which adds texture.  The track (no pun intended) starts off mellow and then gets a kick in the rear and is off to a quirky Country ditty illustrating that blissful feeling called love.  Jennings’ beautiful soprano sugars the no nonsense lyrics.  She expresses the thoughts that present themselves to the one lost in love, singing “maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m in love, maybe I’m just holding on to what’s already gone / I’ve never felt so deep in love.”  That twang and from-the-gut honesty is sure to make “Maybe” a fan favorite.  This is the lemonade track of the collection – sweet, original, and wanting. 

The depth of Jennings’ vocal range is proven on the third track entitled “Midnight Morning” a Country Pop Rock song.  Her deep vocalized emotional expressions flawlessly illustrate the gist of the song – the courage to move on when everything in a relationship is signaling it is time to go – to move on - that midnight morning.  Jennings sings “but, that’s not who I am and that’s not who I want to be / cause I know I’m not confused, and I’ll never be lonely / Midnight morning’s creeping up on me.”  The highs and lows of Jennings’ tone and perfect pitch are coupled with somber piano chords and electric guitars which reach into the depths of the soul.  The purposeful drag of Jennings’ lyrical execution along with the high weeping notes makes the solemn message of the track a bit hopeful.  

There’s substance on the fourth track entitled “Rest in Times of Running” – a Country Dream Pop ballad tackling the topic of having the confidence to keep moving so time doesn’t catch up with you to build doubt, to slow you down, or to make you stop achieving.  The lyrics read “Just stop to look at the tide / yeah and then hurry and get lost before time catches up with us / and don’t get caught up staying / there’s no rest in times of running.”  Jennings’ soulful vocal deliverance and modern vocal flexing sends this track over the top.  Set to be a commercial success, the 4th track additionally includes a fast-paced vocal execution placed in between slowed tempo hooks that works like a lyrical race.  And the harmony along with muted percussions just curves this appeal.  This is the track that proves that Jennings has the chops and can run in the same race as her current musical peers:  Taylor Swift, Hailee Steinfeld, and Alessia Cara but the GOLD goes to Jennings for originality and excellent writing. 

“Frozen” explores the topic of separation and how an unconscious form of separation can be present when two are still together – the icy stares, the cold shoulders, etc. ultimately leads to the final departure.  Jennings lyrically justifies this point singing “this lonesome feeling / could we be more far apart / I am separated by your icy heart / I’m frozen in this icy wasteland / oooh / I’m powerless without my will to stand; you’re gone, what am I supposed to do / I’m nothing on my own / I’m frozen without you.”  This Country Blues track includes bluesy guitar riffs, licks, and progressions that would make B.B. King smile along with the thump, thump, thump of the bass drum and Gospel piano chords – this automatically musically transports you right to Music Row in Nashville.  

If an amplified guitar will not wake you up for an intro, then Jennings’ UNPLUGGED wailing expressive vocals will – unaltered, no auto tune needed, just non-scaled back emotion.  “Spaghetti” is the naughty but nice cut of the collection touting a Mambo musical foundation tempered with traditional Country Rock.  A nice blend of genres that works so well.  “Spaghetti” adds an eclectic vibe to the collection.  The guitar singing along with Jennings maximizes the core pulling effect of the cut.  “Break the walls of silence / I’ll take the sunshine in; let it shine upon my skin; I wish I knew how to leave behind the heartache of you and I back then” Jennings sings in a mellow timbre giving the audio effect of a vocal crawling into your ear.  The guitar solo at point 2:38 just intensifies the seductive strength of the song.  Only a woman can break down walls and be able to sing about it in a flaunting way – this shows that she’s just sharpening her nails.  This Santana-worthy song is the formula for female strength. 

“Please” starts off like the echo of footsteps leading to an open door – that explorative feeling grows as you listen to this Pop Rock track.  Jennings’ crisp soprano envelops every note from the hi-hats to the tender guitars.  She longingly sings, “flowers grow each time it rains, but you and I will be together always heart to heart / don’t turn away, I need to see your face.”  The aesthetic song reminds me of something Carly Simon would compose and record today – something practical and poised in prose but illustrating undying love.  This song is filed with word images to describe the affection between a woman and a man.  She closes the generous song by singing tenderly “don’t turn away; I need to see your face, please.”

To me, Jayna is Independent Music’s answer to Taylor Swift but better, because like Swift, Jayna is a serious songwriter with songs that illustrate true storytelling containing catchy hooks, modern instrumentation, and honest lyrics, but in contrast, Jennings has that raw, untainted originality that gets lost along the way to stardom with some in music.  

An eloquent addition to Indie Music, her songs are so casually titled but lyrically they encompass in-depth meanings and are able to make anyone stop, listen, and re-listen.  She has something to say and the world is listening.  I love her crisp, unapologetic voice; this is a woman who does not err on the side of caution.  

The subtle gaze of Jennings’ stare, the floetic way she executes her music, the scope of her talent all show how she is a bird taking flight in the music industry leaving the courtyards and the aviaries and set to go straight to the top. 

Never one to be boxed in, Jennings is setting her own standards and resurrecting a classic sound and elegant look that far exceeds her competitors today who choose tasteless, talentless, means to gain stardom.  

She is Jayna Jennings – a creative leader in a world of mimics. 

And in keeping with a grounded image, she holds true to herself and allow her audience to see who SHE really is not bowing to anyone – she is GIRL POWER set to music and that type of star power gains longevity. 

I know I may be anxious, but I cannot wait to hear Part 2.  Until then, please join me in listening to “Courtyards & Aviaries Part 1” and to highlight this time of year on into the next, make sure to check out Jayna Jennings’ Christmas single entitled “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” http://jaynajennings.weebly.com.  Also follow her on Twitter @JaynaSongs.



What a superb review, Lakisha! I got Jayna's album back in the Summer and enjoyed listening to it many times as it transported me to a different place. I totally agree with what you say about her originality in her genre. I love Jayna!

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