Emma Jane

Emma Jane
Silver Streets

Self Release

By David Wilson
July 2013

It has not been all that long since I reviewed an earlier rock roots CD by Emma Jane for another site and had indicated I thought she was a dynamic singer, an accomplished songwriter and an artist who deserved to be listened to and watched. When I acquired a download of her newest, an EP titled Silver Streets with a modest content of 6 tunes, I expected to hear more in the same vein. In the act of listening and finding my expectations not met, I suddenly realized that she had evolved and I was still listening with those expectations her previous release had sired in me.

I went back and started listening with new ears.

If not a blues singer, she certainly can sing bluesy, she has a distinctive voice easily recognizable and a wellspring of power which she calls on with great discretion.

What strikes me even more strongly is that she resonates with the emotional content of everything she sings, it all just feels right. I also like that her elocution is clear and it is easy to understand most words on the first listening. Finally, her performance invites you to sing along with her and the lyrics and arrangements are easy to meld with. This is due to the fact that Emma Jane sings so effectively and eloquently without runs, riffs and ostentatious ornamentation that it is a joy to raise my voice (in private only, mind you) in joyous union.

I find myself comparing her to ‘60s blues icons, Judy Roderick, Karen Dalton, Maria Muldaur - though she does not sound like any of them, she does feel like all of them.

While the title tune, “Silver Streets” is more of a “waltzy” country tune, most of the others indicate that Emma Jane has been listening to a lot of blues and gospel and her take on those styles is satisfying. “All Dressed Up” begins with a gospel-like moan, then breaks into a wail. “License To Kill” is an anthem in support of abused women. “Blue Skies” is a New Orleans jazzy blues number bursting with good humor. “Diamonds and Pawns” is a social statement.

Cause we’re all just pawns in a world gone wrong
Hey hey
And we’ll stand and fight for what we think is right


“Liquid Dreams” is done as a work song or field holler with percussion and minimal guitar chords.

I would also want to give credit to Emma Jane’s band-mates, Iain McKinnon’s lead guitar and Phil Dearing on bass, organ, piano and guitar, who know how to support her vocals without ever getting in the way of them. Finally, I’d like to point out that this young artist Emma Jane is responsible for all the arrangements here and they are simple yet elegant.

I am not sure it is her thing, but I would love to hear her do a program of classic blues covers…

With each listening I take more and more pleasure from this compilation. Here is a link to a playful presentation of bonus track, “Liquid Sky.



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