If you’re familiar with thoughtful and witty songwriting, chances are you’ve heard something from Jenny Mitchell, be it her projects (Jenny Omnichord, The Barmitzvah Brothers) or her collaborations with other great acts like The Burning Hell.
Bird City is a different beast than Mitchell’s past projects. The songs on Winnowing are a product of 15 years of writing different kinds of songs written for banjo and tenor guitar. Though the sound is different, Mitchell still has an incredible eye for detail. The images in “A Band End,” for example, are amazing, from “drummers in the mist” to “the keyboards took flight.” In “Hours,” Mitchell muses on the untold amount of time we spend by ourselves, lost in our own thoughts. “Ticket to the Show” is about the haze and chaos of attending a show and going to an “intermission party.” You can feel the confusion, claustrophobia and even nostalgia in “Salvage Diver.” There’s something gorgeous about the line “Deep down with the long black eels, I can’t describe the way I feel,” even if the song is about diving to look for bodies.
Musically, there’s a number of excellent musicians backing her up, including Bry Webb, J.J. Ipsen, Nathan Lawr of Minotaurs and more. The expanded band adds some heft to songs like the aforementioned “Ticket to the Show” and the swirl of noise that opens up “Bird City,” which explains the origin of her act name.
Overall, Winnowing manages to be comforting while also being achingly personal. “A Bit Part” takes the metaphor of having a small role in a film to Mitchell’s standing in life. “It Wasn’t Easy” details a love that seems to have ended but with a history that can’t be pushed away.
Winnowing will be out on October 27 on Coax Records. See her tour dates below.
Oct 28 :: Heritage Hall :: Guelph ON [w/ Scott Merritt]
Nov 5 :: The Burdock :: Toronto ON [w/ Sandro Perri]
Nov 18 :: House Show :: Meaford ON [w/Culture Reject]
Nov 25 :: The Casbah :: Hamilton ON [w/ Eiyn Sof & Mayor McCa]
Dec 8 :: The Spill :: Peterborough ON
Dec 10 :: Pressed :: Ottawa ON