Goosebumps. The last time it happened to me at a concert, I was eight years old and listening to Sarah Brightman hit a high note in a duet with Michael Crawford from Phantom Of The Opera. I vividly recall how it felt to be so moved by someone’s voice that your body responds with goosebumps. This time, I am sitting at a corner table with a group of friends at Ram’s Head On Stage in Annapolis, listening to Jenn Grinels. The beautiful redhead who released her second album brokenHEARTbreaker earlier this year, establishes her obvious talent immediately in the first few songs. Clearly, I am not the only one who is mesmerized by Jenn’s voice. The audience hangs on to every note she delivers and seems to connect with her sound, lyrics and style on a level that is rare.
Her stage presence is effortless and personable. I felt as if the entire audience and I were good friends of Jenn’s, sitting around listening to her play songs we already knew and loved. Part of her allure is her genuine personality which shines through instantly. Part of it is her incredible voice and vocal range. One moment she is singing softly, polishing notes with such ease, and the next she is hitting high notes with a bluesy feel that reminds me slightly of Susan Tedeschi. After Grinels performed a few songs, someone at my table remarked,”How is she not like, majorly famous!? She is incredible.”
“How is she not like, majorly famous!? She is incredible.”
Part of the show, Jenn was joined by Merideth Kaye Clark, a versatile singer and actress from New York who was introduced as one of Jenn’s very best friends. The harmony that results from the combination of Jenn’s and Merideth’s voices is beautiful to say the least. Later in the show, Jenn and Merideth were joined by the incredibly likeable Joey Harkum of Pasadena for a set that the crowd really seemed to love.
Jenn played many of the songs from brokenHEARTbreaker, including one of my personal favorites, ‘Always’ which Jenn wrote in honor of a friend who passed from cancer. The power and emotion delivered in the song can and does resonate with the audience, rarely leaving a dry eye in the room. Others songs from the album include ‘Don’t Want To Be Happy,’ an upbeat and fun tune marked by the catchy hook, “I don’t want to be happy, I want you.” Other songs on the album could easily set the soundtrack for a romantic film or Grey’s Anatomy, especially ‘Love Again,’ a song that assures a broken heart there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. ‘Right From The Start’ is incredibly catchy and romantic, while Jenn’s vocal range is particularly obvious in ‘Begin Again.’ When all is said and done, the album is stunning, emotional and unique.
The Road To Annapolis
Grinels, who has been touring as an indie artist for the last four years, has had her heart set on playing Ram’s Head ever since she first played in Annapolis. The first time she came to town, Grinels played a couple open mic nights at Stan ‘n Joe’s and The Whiskey. Jenn’s voice made a lasting impression…the day after her performances she was contacted by 103.1 WRNR and invited for a live interview and to sing ‘No Better’ on air. Later that evening, Grinels was set to play at Sly Fox Tavern. She set up downstairs and as the time neared to begin her set, there were about one hundred attendees gathered in the intimate and small basement area in the tavern. Grinels was ecstatic with the warm welcome and turnout from Annapolitans. From there, she set her sights on playing at Ram’s Head On Stage.
In September, that dream came true. Her vocals and delivery establish Jenn Grinels as a singer and songwriter who is really going places. I would not be surpised if we one day see Grinels playing even bigger venues as her fanbase continues to grow. My prediction? Jenn Grinels has that rare “it” factor, which designates her as a musician to watch. Yet, she is still incredibly approachable and humble…such a refreshing quality in someone so talented. If you have not listened to the album, I recommend listening to it from start to finish. You will enjoy every moment, ‘Right From The Start.’
Jenn Grinels Website
Preview the Album on iTunes