REVIEW: Jenn Bostic – ‘Revival’

Jenn Bostic’s an interesting one; she’s captured the hearts of country fans all over the UK in recent years with festival appearances, ‘In The Round’ tours with Sarah Darling and a little help from the BBC with ‘Jealous Of The Angels’… without ever proclaiming her status as a ‘country’ artist. It proves the mindset of country music fans; if you’ve got heart, soul and most importantly, good songs, you’ll be welcomed in with open arms. Jenn has all three in abundance, and she’s just released her new project ‘Revival’ which delves into her broad influences and showcases Jenn’s immense versatility.

If you’re looking for a ‘country’ album, look elsewhere. ‘Revival’ is far from it. It’s a very difficult one to categorise; there are hints of jazz, blues, gospel and soul, resulting in a thoroughly engaging 12-track album in which you never know what’s around the corner. It won’t be too appealing to traditional country fans, but if you’re an all-round ‘music’ fan, it’ll be right up your street. It certainly is for me.

Bluesy foot-stomper ‘Wrong Thing’ kicks off the album, cranking up the tempo right from the off with a track that was simply made for the festival crowds. It’s a real get-up-and-go song with great drive and energy: “So many people, myself included, allow fear to hold them back. Wrong Thing is about taking risks and stepping out in faith in order to live life to the fullest.” A great opener that hits you like a tonne of bricks. This is followed by a personal favourite of mine, the aptly-titled ‘Haunting Me’, which captivates you with its atmospheric feel and infectious chorus. A cry for an escape from past troubles, it showcases Jenn’s stellar vocal to perfection – she sings like she’s lived every word, with such power and passion.

‘Hollywood’ is another highlight for me, and perhaps the most mainstream-oriented offering on ‘Revival’, whilst still maintaining that gospel, soulful edge. It’s one that many will be able to relate to, about being content living a life under the radar – “I don’t ever need be on the big screen, probably wouldn’t do it if I could”. One for all the underdogs out there! It’s undeniably catchy, particularly with the “Raise ‘em up!” hook that goes down a storm at the live shows.

Elsewhere, one of the BIG stand-outs is ‘Faint Of Heart’ which is evidently a very personal one for Jenn. Lyrically this is just fabulous and really tugs at the heart strings, combined with some beautiful, intricately-crafted instrumentation. A real ‘wow’ moment. It’s a song with great honesty and, at times, self-deprecation about the challenges of the music industry, and how difficult it is to maintain authenticity and integrity as an artist, as Jenn has done consistently throughout her career. “Maybe I’m too old to be a pop star, maybe I’m too young to be wise. Maybe I don’t fit into the box they want to put me in, I refuse to compromise….dreaming was never meant to be for the faint of heart”. No word of a lie when I say this is a song of the year contender already – phenomenal.

But things do brighten up eventually! The optimistic ‘Before It Gets Better’ turns up the tempo once again with some killer electric guitar, and Jenn melts us with some stunning gospel and soul-influenced offerings like the gorgeous ‘Love You’, ‘Too Easy’ and the title track ‘Revival’, which closes the album. The latter is a great energy-charged anthem that gradually builds and builds, before we’re introduced to the wonderful sounds of a choir that take us to church! I defy anybody to not become immersed in the song’s uplifting joy.

This is a wonderful piece of work from Jenn which you’ll absolutely adore if you’re willing to broaden your musical horizons. It’s packed with unrivalled emotion and passion – a really refreshing listen.

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan