Jenna & the Janes get personal with debut album


Music can show a special kind of authenticity when it relays a true story from the artist. As the lyrics, notes, beats and strums go along, the song examines an event concerning a relative, a loved one, a former flame or something out of serendipity or happenstance. When the craft is approached this way, it can give visuals to the listener as they’re diving into the recorded track via their ears. All of this I just mentioned is evident within “Earth Dog Year,” the debut album from the Brooklyn indie folk act Jenna & the Janes which came out April 1. It’s the first installment of a creative partnership between this particular project headed by Jenna Smith and the Cranston-based record label Pitch & Prose.

Multi-instrumentalist Kenny Florence, bassist & pianist Michael Sanders, drummer John Stallings and cellist Polina Kermesh joined Smith for the making of the album. Florence also handled the production duties and some of the mixing while lending his talents on guitar, pedal steel, organ, clavinet, keyboards and cello. Neal Shaw took on some of the mixing as well while doing the engineering at the legendary recording studio, The Power Station, in New York City. Nikki Grande and Ben Miller assisted Shaw with the engineering while Dan Millice took on the mastering while additional tracking was done at Moon Recording in Brooklyn with Josh Liebman. As you can tell, it took a lot of talented folks to make this record a reality.

In my opinion, what really makes this album stand out are the melodies and harmonies. Smith’s vocal delivery has a heartfelt substance to it while having a unique range that can hit the high notes in a peculiar way. Sanders and Florence on backing vocals adds a bit of vigor to the chorus of various songs as well. The instrumentation also has a stellar cohesiveness; it makes for a genuinely great listening experience with the tunes going together seamlessly.

I like the way the guitar leads off the title track. There’s a slight psychedelic tone within the song as well. “Northern Light” is an ode to anyone who has had to get up and move on from their surroundings. The piano plays a nice part while going along with the steady drumbeats. Another track I like a lot is “Signs Of Life” -- everything builds from the guitar at the beginning to a stellar chorus.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys harmonic vocals, melodic song structures and depth within songwriting, then you should check out “Earth Dog Year.” To give it a stream and a purchase, log on to Pitch & Prose’s Bandcamp page at pitchandprose.bandcamp. To keep tabs on what Jenna & the Janes will be up to in the future, follow them on Instagram at


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