You Can't Take Anyone Castlemusic: Press Release Blue Fog Records
You Can't Take Anyone, the highly anticipated new solo record by Toronto musician Jennifer Castle, is a healing balm for weary souls -- it's hummable sadness with a sly underbelly of song-writing brilliance. This record compels the listener to pause, to lie down, to sway, to put that dish you are washing back down in the sink, to roll over, to hop a boxcar, to skip town and to hum.
Recorded in the spring and fall seasons of 2007 with Jeff McMurrich in Toronto, with the intention to make a record with attention to performance rather than perfection, You can't take anyone allows the graceful tangles of Jennifer Castle's songs to radiate without pretense. Here Castle's meandering, beautifully misshapen guitar lines meet with her thorny/poignant, womanly lyrics and utterly disarming voice. With a desire to write music that, "lets me really play the guitar and play guitar with no preciousness to structure and timing so I can really enjoy singing…the song becomes the bridge for both interests", Castle's addictive songs echo homespun greats like Johnny Cash and Elizabeth Cotton.
Of her song writing intentions and heartbreaking delivery, Castle says, "[I wish to] write with a dedication to imagination, poetry, meaninglessness, impossibility and honesty. Bad grammar and sloppy chord changes…to lyrically write in the often sad voice of a person who feels alone, while playing and singing like a person who reaps the uninhibited and beautiful benefits of this state". And indeed, while many of these tunes are heartbreakers, there is intuitive headspace between the meaning of the words, the singer, the guitar and the audience that never allow the material to become maudlin.
While most of the songs on the record are performed solo, Castle is joined by Ryan Driver's (The silt, The Reveries, Ryan Driver Quartet) austere piano, jangling guitar and unmistakable voice on a few tunes. Doug Tielli (The silt, No Man Band, The Reveries) contributes labyrinthine guitar and distinctive supporting vocals on two songs. These collaborative moments feel comfortable/natural and add complex dimensions to the arrangements of Castle's adeptly honed songs.
You Can't Take Anyone moves from the understated drama of the opening song, "One, Two, Three", through contemporary cow-poke terrain on "Roses", to intense balladry on "Don't Go Now" (and elegantly stuttering guitar throughout), with truly rare emotional integrity. This record marries viscera with song-writing deftness that gives musical and expressive honesty a new meaning. Listen to You Can't Take Anyone a thousand times and then a thousand times more.