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CD Reviews: Jen Woodhouse
Jen Woodhouse: This Honest Age
February 2005
By: Marco Nieves
album cover of Jen Woodhouse's This Honest Age

As an artist you have plenty of roads to take, some lead into serpentine dead ends, and some lead to bridges with everglades shining through on the other side. The path chosen is always unpredictable. Even with dead ends, you never know what you will come against before the sudden stop to your journeys. Independent artists have an advantage though, they're the ones that decide, explore and, if need be, cease to move. When it comes to their medium, they have total control and, like Jen Woodhouse, they have the top of the world in mind and the sky is barely the limit.

Equipped with a meritorious band and a silky voice, Jen is writing songs that are aching (and severely deserving) to be heard, escorting you into a paradise of melodies and pulchritudinous harmonies. There was something that confounded me about her songwriting while reading her lyrics, and it wasn't the random capitalization of words (with purpose), but how intimately sincere and human they are. No need to add forced and caricatural metaphors and hyperboles, Jen plans to handhold you through her streams of inspiration with her purity, inviting you to keep listening. There is always another story to tell for these women that can't help but convert pain and disappointment into beautiful art.

Style-wise, you get the bold folkiness (with spurs of scat) of Ani DiFranco (Not Myself) and the smooth grace of Dido (Hello Beautiful), offered with a glamour and feminine sensitivity that makes these tracks both special and fresh. Throughout the album, the lack of excessive sounds and synthetic beats that suffocate popular music today will surely refresh those who are parched for a passage to the basics. Listen to This Honest Age and be prepared for a rapture lead by an unprejudiced stir of wonderful talent, and let's revel with the muses that make women like Jen so important to the soundtracks within our lives.