Jenny Scheinman

Jenny Scheinman

When you get right down to it, many musicians are one-trick ponies
— they get to a point where they can do one thing really well
(stylistically) and ride that sucker till it’s past its due date (or
they die). Conversely, Bay Area-bred violinist Jenny Scheinman has
performed in assorted styles with a dazzlingly diverse cast of
characters: Norah Jones, Bill Frisell, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Bruce
Cockburn, and local avant sax quartet ROVA. Aside from assorted
sideperson gigs, Scheinman has two parallel careers as a leader, one in
the overlapping spheres of jazz and improvised music, the other as an
Americana singer-songwriter.

Her self-titled platter is a spare, bracing, gratifying thing,
brimming with originals and choice covers reflecting the panorama of
American roots sounds — pre-Nash Vegas country, folk, electric
blues, Appalachian, rock, even classic radio pop. Scheinman sings with
a sturdy, plainspoken, heartfelt alto — imagine Alison Krauss’
older, somewhat world-weary sister or Lucinda Williams’ younger, less
boisterous sibling. “Twilight Time” and “Shame, Shame, Shame” possess a
stark, unrefined (though not sloppy), almost eerie ambience, as if
recorded in a back-country gin joint or VFW hall on a Sunday afternoon.
The loping lament “Skinny Man” is a cross betwixt Tony Joe White and
Cat Power, yearning Southern soul with keening violin and searing slide
guitar.

Jenny Scheinman is none too polished yet not lo-fi, faithful
to its roots yet not limited by any tedious “purist” conception, a
recording glowing with understated fervor. (Koch)

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