Jodi Lynn Berggren
Jodi Lynn Berggren conveys shades of personal experience and tells intriguing tales in her self-titled debut CD of songs. It features her clear, distinctly beautiful voice amidst interweaving acoustic instrument parts. Her innovative arrangements involve unusual instrument choices and combinations. A marimba interjects short melodic phrases among assertive vocals, swift guitar strumming and a rhythmic double bass line in "I'm Falling". Trumpet and viola complement a pretty vocal melody with rolling parallel lines in "Abbygail". Simple, steady guitar patterns set the pace on many songs, while sensitive, lyrical piano-playing often broadens the sound and deepens the mood. Her melodies range from catchy to quirky. Her lyrics span from frank to oblique. The pairing of her words and notes within the intricate arrangements forms stirring depictions of the most ordinary to the most subtle of human experiences. A man tries to break down the vacancy of his assumed privilege in "A Certain Kind of Man". It begins: "I'm not a good man/ I've never had to be/ It's been far too easy/ to just join with the winning team". Movement within an emotional predicament ends right where it began in "Not Now": "Not now/ when I can see beyond the world of only/ Not now/ when I can see a bit of sky in any/ morning descending/ everything inviting me to think/ this could be a life alive/ Not now". Other song themes include extraction from a relationship with a self-absorbed person ('It's Not About You'), a young man's devoted love for his girlfriend as he goes off to war ('Virginia I') and as he returns ('Virginia II'), and an overwrought mother's thoughts as she's up all night with her ailing baby son ('Along the Hallway'). Jodi incorporates elements of disparate styles of music such as country, jazz, baroque and rock, among others, but ultimately speaks from her own sharp and inviting musical perspective. This CD brings together her significant vocal, instrumental and composition abilities with the vibrant contributions of many talented Bay Area musicians. It's a strikingly honest and interesting body of work.