Jeannine Hebb: Whileaway
Produced by: Patrick Ermlich & Eshy Gazit
Jeannine Hebb began her music career at the age of four when she worked out the tune of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina on the living room piano while listening to it as the only song on her grandmother’s music box.
As an only child, and being shy, she spent much of her childhood writing her own songs while learning piano developing her singing voice, and was touring with a professional musical theater group by the age of thirteen. Stage was the place where she felt comfortable with herself. She went on to Berklee College of Music and graduated in three years at the age of twenty.
Along the way she won several awards, including the recipient of the Frank E. Remick and E. Ione Lockwood awards for excellence in music and vocal performance and the Susan Glover Hitchcock scholarship for outstanding musicianship. She also received the Scott Benson scholarship for songwriters, the highest honor in the Berklee songwriting department, when she graduated. After that she moved to New York City where she released her first EP, Too Late To Change Me.
She has been compared to singers and songwriters from Laura Nyro to Carole King and her style contains influences from jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues, and she blends them together well.
The album contains quite a few other musicians including herself on voice piano, with additional musicians on guitar, pedal steel, bass, drums, violin, viola, and cello, although the piano is the featured instrument which is understandable since she is the piano player, and she does an excellent job at it. But is her singing that really carries the album.
The production and arrangements are excellent as is her performance. She has a beautiful voice that is full and rich and well suited for the style of music on the album. The songs are about heart break but done in a somewhat upbeat manner making the album more light-hearted and very enjoyable to listen to. The song I Believe has this in it with lyrics that might sound rather downbeat but are sung beautifully:
If I believe
What everybody’s telling me
Surely you would disagree
With everything I’ve heard
Can I take your word
And the song Back to Me Again is very upbeat and fast paced and really showcases her great voice:
Say what you want
But leave my heart
I need all my precious heart
And I know you can’t be trusted
With my mind
And it’s twisted all the time
Wrapped so tightly I might die
Any time you so desire
Her voice and songwriting are impressive and so is the album.
Review by Greg Bennett