Beau Jennings is a Norman, OK-based singer and songwriter with a world of stories to tell as his recording career nears the two decade mark, during which he’s collaborated with the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Richard Swift, and filmmaker Bradley Beesley (Fearless Freaks, Okie Noodling) and shared stages with Dwight Yoakam, Heartless Bastards, Robert Cray, and John Moreland. From the Americana/indie rock band Cheyenne – which took him to Brooklyn, NY for the late 2000’s – to his ever-evolving solo career and penchant for home recording, Jennings explores the lives of others – both real and imagined – to craft touching, gallant pop songs with hints of Tom Petty, Wilco, Bob Dylan, and The National. The end of Cheyenne and a renewed self-reliance in his solo career led to the creation of The Tigers, a core group of seasoned professional musicians who handle the songs expertly. “I can write the songs and play acoustic guitar, but the band brings it to where it needs to be” says Beau of the band.
Derrick C. Brown’s poem “Hunger Sling” adorns the back cover of Heavy Light, the new full length album by Beau Jennings & The Tigers and ties in to what Beau sees as “a creeping, looming thing that permeates the record.” While not exactly a pandemic piece, the record did come about in that year of time erased, following a personal tragedy that is reflected in the songs. On “Colorado,” he sings “they say faith don’t need evidence, but tell me about doubt” and we get a hint at that doubt, in the refrain “I’m going back to Colorado, to where my mother was born.” Later, in the buoyant “Bring A Little Light,” we’re reminded of the harsh truth that “if something’s new something had to end,” and can’t help but wonder what that sacrifice might be.
Heavy Light was recorded at Cardinal Song, the studio of The Tigers bassist Michael Trepagnier, following the release of The Thunderbird and its bold acoustic reimagination, Son Of Thunderbird. The band (Jennings, Trepagnier, Chase Kerby, Dustin Ragland, John McCall) hit all the sonic sweet spots here, with lush production and all the warmth of 70’s AM Gold underpinning the subtly darker lyrical elements at play. While “Sunflower” bestows a bright and sunny vision, a deception is uncovered in “The Comeback,” as Beau sings of his childhood and confesses “I always kept my feelings hid.” With the title track, “Heavy Light,” memories come flooding back and revealed, while “Juniper” and closer “May This Song Be In Your Heart” offer hopeful blessings (“may you always carry fire,” and “may you always feel my love”) for a better future.
“Here’s to settling in the present couchness, and being grateful.”