Reviewer: Splendid, www.splendidezine.com
It's hard to tell whether time works for or against Gotta Lotta. It's passionate, modern folk music, with well-written songs full of catchy melodies and introspective, insightful lyrics. Even more importantly, Jenn Lindsay has the right kind of voice for it; her vocal inflections call to mind seasoned artists like Joni Mitchell. Why, then, is it hard to tell whether time works for Gotta Lotta? Because, really, it comes about five years too late. If the album had arrived at the height of the Lilith Fair boom, Lindsay could well have been hailed as one of that movement's breakout stars. As it stands, with Sarah McLachlan on seemingly endless hiatus and artists like Paula Cole and Joan Osborne lining the bargain bins of music stores everywhere, Lindsay will have to fight for every bit of radio airplay she can get. Then again, perhaps Gotta Lotta's timing is perfect. After all, if the album had come out when female singer-songwriters were all the rage, Lindsay would have been seen as another in a seemingly endless stream of marginally talented coattail riders. Instead, she gets to compete against male-dominated rock music (be it of the rap or garage variety), and against such standards, it's a lot easier to see Gotta Lotta's ample merits. Lindsay's songwriting range is impressive, ranging from effortlessly bouncy ("Three Sparrows Four" and "I Call Myself A Flower") to beautifully melancholic ("I Stayed Home Today"), and, of course, songs that fit somewhere between those two extremes ("Song That Mama Sings"). But it's on "I Am Not Going Home Yet" that Lindsay establishes herself as a talent to be reckoned with. Yes, it's a September 11th song -- but unlike a lot of the art inspired by that day, this is a piece of music first and foremost, and a "statement" a very distant second (if at all). It clocks in at well over six minutes, and deals not just with the terrorist attacks but also with New York City and the confusion of modern life, yet it somehow works. In large part, it may just be because of its length -- it rambles, but it genuinely sounds like Lindsay is trying to convey the disjointed thoughts she felt on that day. It's far easier to relate to something like this than to the black-and-white terms to which many artists have tried to reduce the experience. Given that Gotta Lotta's recording was financed by money Lindsay earned busking the streets of New York City, it's obvious that many others have also found her music easy to relate to. This, the sense that an artist is verbalizing how you feel at that moment, is really all that matters in an album, regardless of whether it emerges at the right moment in music history.
-- Matthew Pollesel
Reviewer: Splendid, http://www.splendidezine.com/review.html?reviewid=1078831154209808
Three songs into The Last New York Horn, Jenn Lindsay commits heresy. You won't notice, of course, unless you heard her last full-length, Gotta Lotta, and are aware that she's a part of New York City's Antifolk scene. Even so, right in the middle of "Dry Heat", Lindsay delivers lines you wouldn't expect to come from her, of all people: "It's very clear where I wanna be / Ooh, sugar, out of New York City", after which she explains why she's decamping to California. For someone whose best song, "I Am Not Going Home Yet", was about being a New Yorker dealing with 9/11, it doesn't seem to bode well for the success of her new album.
Of course, being the intelligent, erudite folkie that she is, Lindsay goes on to show that while her geographic space may have changed, she hasn't lost her ability to comment on whatever is going on around her -- or, as is the case in many of the songs here, what's going on inside her head.
So what does that mean she sings about? Topics as varied as you'd expect from someone who sings "Gotta lotta voices in my little head" (as Lindsay does in opener "White Room"). There's politics, both in the Bush-bashing sense ("Uncle Sam", with the lines "Alone in a room with Uncle Sam / You can guess where he tried to put his hand / And I said, 'Screw you Uncle Sam!! You're a dirty old man!'") and in the more personal sense ("Beauty Queen", in which Lindsay sings of the need for protest singers). There's sexual identity (the gender questioning of "Jill + Jill"). There are songs about wanting to leave ("Close"), and songs about feeling dislocated ("Califorlornia" and "The Question Changed", the latter featuring the beautiful opening lines, "I walk in this city, I thought this city would be my friend / It hasn't failed me yet, but I failed it again and again"). There's even a song about Lindsay's dog (the appropriately-named "Doggy").
As with Gotta Lotta, one song here stands above the others -- in this case, album-closer "Story". Much like "I Am Not Going Home Yet", it's long and rambling...but Lindsay is one of those rare artists whose ramblings make good lyrics. The song follows the arc of a relationship from beginning to peak ("When I sang I sang about your body cuz it's the one thing I understand") to the first sign of trouble ("You an I are so different / Mission drama and mission control") to end, showing that Lindsay's musical palette (essentially just voice and guitar) has little bearing on the scope of her lyrical ambition.
Whether Lindsay's move to California (if, in fact, she's still there -- her website makes no mention of where she currently resides) will have any effect on this ambition remains to be seen -- after all, the West Coast is hardly known as a place of deep introspection. Nonetheless, based on the strength of The Last New York Horn, if anyone can stay true to an artistic vision, Jenn Lindsay can.
-- Matthew Pollesel