Jenn Grant has loads of charm both musically and personally, so it's no surprise she was able to rope in all sorts of top Canadian talent to guest on her latest. The 12 tracks each feature a famed collaborator, from national names (Basia Bulat, Dan Mangan) to local East Coast pals (Joel Plaskett, Tim Baker). This went far beyond the usual star turns, where names drop in quickly to add a vocal or instrumental part. The songs were true collaborations, The invited pals worked at length with Grant, choosing topics, considering the lyrics at length, and developing the tracks with Grant and co-producer/main partner Daniel Ledwell.
The guests are allowed to bring their own style and influence to the table. The current single "One Hit Wonders" features Ria Mae in an old-school dance jam that looks at the pressures to conform that female artists face. "All Of This Time," featuring Bahamas, is a gentle duet over acoustic guitar, like a soft summer breeze. From the sublime to the celebratory, Halifax's Aquakultre helps turn "Nobody's Fool" into a big soul production. Despite all this star power and stylistic influence, the album becomes a surprisingly coherent and satisfying listen. Grant leads the way, her warm and assured vocals as expressive as ever, whether gentle like "Catch the Wind," with Iqaluit's Josh Quamariaq, or joyous, in the hit "Judy," with Kim Harris.
Grant is launching the disc with a cast featuring several of the album guests this Saturday, June 24, at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Joining her will be Amy Millan, Hannah Georgas, Aquakultre, Kim Harris, Tim Baker, and Kevin Drew. And home-town fans can see her along with Feist at this year's Halifax Jazz Festival on July 11.