Jennifer Greer – The Apiary

Jennifer Greer
The Apiary

The first thing I noticed about Jennifer Greer’s new album, The Apiary, was her lush vocals. This woman has one of those pretty, passionate voices that seems suited to any kind of music she could ever want to sing. Armed with her piano and a backup band, Ms. Greer takes on the world of jazz and pop with flawless clarity that will certainly draw plenty of comparisons to pop culture’s best know “woman with piano,” Tori Amos. But unlike her redheaded counterpart, Jennifer Greer’s songs have a smokier feel more suited to intimate venues and audiences who haven’t latched on to just one aspect of her music.

The Boston via New York City songstress is joined on The Apiary by four other musicians who provide the soft backdrop to her songs. This helps give distinctly different moods to each of her songs, and although I imagine Greer can hold her own completely solo, the bass, guitar, drums, and cello definitely create a more complex texture that only gets better with each subsequent listen. It’s the band that takes Jennifer Greer’s songs from languid to aggressive without missing a beat.

After the intro of “Invited,” Greer’s first gem, “Honey Bee,” sidesteps its way into your ears. Lyrics like “Mother what would it be if you say today, I don’t need this empire of pain” will steep themselves in your head so quickly that the background begins to fade. One of the album’s interesting themes, whether intentional or not, is walking (“Walking Home to You,” “Darkling,” Never,” etc). Perhaps this is a discovery for each listener, but Greer’s lyrics about walking to or from something evokes my own journeys in life and brings a deeper sense of kinship with the music.

The cello on “Origami Birds” takes this beautiful song a notch higher and perfectly complements Greer’s soprano. This track is a perfect example of Jennifer’s skills – not only as a songwriter, singer, and musician, but also for her arrangements. The arrangement is also what sets “Stupid People Lost in Eden” apart as well, and I think the effortless atmosphere of this song surely defines Jennifer Greer – her songs are at once complex and easygoing.

Jennifer Greer’s The Apiary is a stellar performance from start to finish. It’s rare that I find any piano-based album to be solid all the way through, but Greer breathes new life into her instrument as she seems deeply connected to the piano. While the combination of jazz and pop music won’t satisfy everyone, those who enjoy strong female vocals and more casual jazz should absolutely pick up The Apiary and rejoice in the calming vibe that Greer creates.