review of Oh Hear Us
There was an eight-year gap between the first and second solo albums by Jennifer Kimball, and Oh Hear Us was actually recorded about a couple of years prior to its early 2006 release. It doesn't sound rusty, however; it's literate, versatile, accomplished singer/songwriter music. Those who view her as a continuation of classic performers in the style such as Joni Mitchell will find much to latch on to in that direction, both in Kimball's sophisticated vocal phrasing and the occasionally jazzy flavors. Kimball's also committed to incorporating eclectic instrumentation, though for all the dozen-plus instruments listed in the credits, there's a pretty consistent easy-on-the-ear mild rock flavor throughout the record (albeit with some rootsy folk and country accents). Like many records in this genre, there's an earnest dedication to its tone, but there's a lighter, more winsome quality than the typical such effort in the style. While it's not exactly poppy, songs such as "Is He or Isn't He" boast some respectable bittersweet, country-shaded hooks.