A meaningful album about looking back on life’s crossroads and looking for the light-filled path.
Only a few months since the release of his EP ‘Feel the Sun’ with his band The Tigers, Oklahoma’s Beau Jennings has continued the theme of light with his uplifting album ‘Heavy Light.’ It’s not just a clever metaphor for spirit and enlightenment, although those things are here too. Jennings sees Spirit in nature, storms, light, and other people, but like a visual artist, he expresses emotions as different qualities of light.
The Tigers provide a superb backing to Jennings’ vocals, which are also well worth concentrating on to catch the impressive lyrics he has written for this album. Guitarist/keyboardist Chase Kerby and keyboardist Chris Wiser deserve their own special accolades. On the lovely opening ‘Sunflowers,’ inspired by a bike ride Jennings and his wife took in Norman, Oklahoma, he deftly expresses love in small but powerful gestures. ‘The Comeback,’ which sounds very much like something from Springsteen’s canon, is about a teenage boy’s painful experience of heartbreak, abandonment, and humiliation, a story told with remarkable vulnerability and candour. Like the E Street Band, The Tigers hold Jennings up when he veers into a heartfelt delivery that is quiet as a whisper as well as when he jumps into a rowdy rock song. He struggles with keeping the faith, however shaky, as an adult faced with setbacks on the plucky ‘I’m Reaching, Lord.’ By contrast, ‘I Know These Guys’ is more noticeable for its darker, unsettling Leonard Cohen atmosphere.
‘Colorado’ is about the loss of Jennings’ mother and making the long drive on I-70 to her birthplace in Colorado with his children along, trekking through the western half of Kansas until the Rockies loom up ahead. She is also referenced on ‘Heavy Light,’ with Jennings wishing that she could see his daughter’s Easter dress. He also mourns the difficulties of connecting with his daughters as they grow up on the wistful ‘Juniper.’ The closer, ‘May This Song Be In Your Heart,’ is nothing short of a radio-friendly pop song that also sounds like an old blessing.
Jennings’ lyrics are thoughtful and well planned for maximum impact. He conveys the importance of memory, remembering and honoring people we’ve lost while still taking care of the loved ones in front of us now.