Singer/songwriter Jenny Dee’s debut album ‘Dancing from a Distance’ is filled with life stories, melodic twists and effortless realness. We loved it, and you will too.
There’s something that happens when you start to leave the confidence and bravery of adolescence and enter the uncertainty and confusion of navigating adulthood. When you’re young you feel invincible. You have this moral code of what is right and what is wrong, and for the most part, you think you have it all figured out. But then comes a shift in the tide. You hit that sweet spot where you’ve lived just long enough realize you don’t actually know anything at all. The trouble is, you haven’t quite lived long enough to know even how you’re supposed to start figuring it out. So, what do you do? You start to reflect on your life and the lessons you’ve learned, while fully acknowledging that you’re lost and wandering. You take a step back to get perspective and make the changes you deem necessary.
Singer/songwriter Jenny Dee’s sentimental debut album, Dancing from a Distance (released March 6, 2020) feels like this recollection of lessons learned and paths taken with a bright look towards the future.
It’s her journey, and you can tell with just one listen, it’s an honest one. It’s vulnerable and raw with musically surprising choices that keep our ears inclined from track one through track ten.
The album starts with “Something More,” a Bon Iver like introduction to the aquatic, vulnerable body of work that makes Dancing from a Distance. It moves seamlessly to “August,” which almost acts as its own pulsing heart. Surprising synth sounds add a layer of depth to her words, allowing them to sink into our ears.
When the album transitions to “House That We Built” it turns softer, adding harmonies that are so pleasing to the ear. It makes you feel at peace and at home. The water droplet theme continues with “All of these Words” as the song slowly and steadily taps into pace with soft beats and gorgeous vocals. The album beautiful continues, transitioning as easily as pages turn in a book. “In The Morning” feels exactly as its title suggests. When music can suggest a time of day and a specific mood, you know it’s done its job. There is almost a Dermot Kennedy rawness to this track that makes it impossible to ignore.
The album continues and eventually closes off with the peaceful and poetic “If I Could Carry Us.” This song is lyrically poetic with echoing guitar strings and a rasp in her voice. The entire album is a story to take in, one that lets you know you’re not alone in this journey. The feelings you’re feeling have been felt by others, and it’s okay to feel lost at times.
Jenny Dee broke down the album for us track-by-track, so take a read, take a listen – know you’re not alone, and let it all sink in.
Stream: ‘Dancing from a Distance’ – Jenny Dee
:: Inside Dancing from a Distance ::
I wanted to say something about kind of always craving some sort of change in a personal, geographical, and general sense. I grew up in San Diego, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I still found myself wishing I was somewhere else. I think we all come to different points in our lives where we crave some sort of change. And it’s healthy until it becomes something you constantly pursue. So this song tries to grapple with that and eventually ends up in a place of getting the things you were dreaming about, but still missing what you had or where you were.
When I wrote this one I didn’t know it would end up being the song that kinda carried me through the last few years. It has connected with a lot of people and that has been really nice to see. This song is pretty literal in the sense that I was writing this song while describing everything I was seeing outside. I wrote this song during my first fall in Florida and I wanted to parallel the seasons passing with relationships and time passing. The last verse of the song attempts to tie those two together.
With creatures and fishes
With hopes about wishing
Someone could interpret my dreams
Now there’s thunder and lighting
And its brighter than mother warned it would be
Leave a Light On
Writing this one was therapeutic for me. I was trying to find some sort of comfort in people and places always changing. At the time of writing this one, I was really fixated on the concept of time to the point that it was keeping me up at night, which helped me write the verses of this one. Leaving a light on to me, was asking time to remember me and keep me. I was imagining all of the important people in my life leaving lights on for me but also fearing that it wasn’t possible.
Tell me what’s the reason we lose someone
Tell me what’s the reason our hearts they want
Tell me what’s the reason you held it high
Tell me what’s the reasons you’re losing touch”
House That We Built
I remember writing this song over the course of a few months. This was probably the longest I took to write a song. I worked on it in a hotel room in Nashville, at my home in California and everywhere in between. When I play this song I can picture myself in all of those places. At first, I didn’t really know where to take this song, I wanted to have at least one song that wasn’t generally sad. So satisfying that idea was complicated because of how the lyrics present themselves in the first half of the song. “House That We Built” is about making something with someone even though everything around you is showing that you can’t. The end of the song resolves all of the things that they were struggling with in the beginning. That person is enough to get you through moments that you couldn’t without them.
All These Words
Writing this one came a bit easier than the other ones. This track is one of the more literal and straight to the point songs on the record. When you find someone that makes you feel like a kid again, and everything you see reminds you of them. Even though they aren’t in your life anymore you can hear something like a song and be taken back to the moments you had with them. This one was a lot of fun to record, and has such a nice groove to it. The instrumentation to this one kind of heals the lyrics for me.
This one is a bit older that I wrote a few summers ago. I was in sort of a fantasy land when writing it. I went out with someone, it wasn’t what I wanted or enjoyed so I made up this story about what I wished it had been. I think this song is how I dreamt people fell in love and what I wanted for myself.
In the Morning
I think this one is the most personal on this record. I remember this song coming to me after I flew back from San Diego. I was traveling back and forth from Florida to California multiple times that month and it caught up to me emotionally. Feeling like I didn’t know where I wanted to be or live was heavy on me, and this song released me from having to make that decision. I came to the place where I knew things would feel better in the morning, at least to some degree. “In the Morning” continues to guide me through situations that seem to consume me in the moment.
I just need someone to hold me through the night
I just need someone to tell me I’ll be fine
I just need someone, someone, someone, I need someone
Cause I’ve been getting lost out here, so far from home
But I guess that’s where I’m at right now, getting older you know
Before I Go
One of the first songs that I wrote for this album. I wrote this one when I was home in San Diego and it’s about a certain situation I couldn’t move on from. I needed the song to help me in that process, and it continues to guide me through different things. It kind of pleads the other person to make sure they are certain before moving on.
I wrote this one while visiting my best friends in San Francisco. They were at work and I was alone in their studio apartment. You can see the water from their place and it was the most inviting setting to write a song. The record was originally going to have 8 songs and this is one I added in the final hour of recording things. We hadn’t finished recording other songs at the time, so I took this back to Lakeland with me to make sure it fit with the other songs. Most of the songs here talk about time and longing for things that you once had. I needed a way to express but also needed to do it in a more abstract way. The wolves in this song represent time and anything that you feel threatened by. They start to get closer and you think the only place to hide is where you have hid all of your life but you start to find comfort somewhere else. I continue to feel freed by the bridge of this song. Reminding myself that if a place or person can’t protect you anymore then maybe you should face the wolves. Staying outside with the wolves to me means protecting your work, your poetry, and who you are.
How did we get here?
We were just by the water it seemed
The wolves they are howling
Think they know something we don’t
If I Could Carry Us
This was the last song that I wrote for the album and it’s also the last track. The hook of this song became the album title, and it is the song I am most excited for people to hear. Immediately after I wrote the first verse I knew I needed to finish it for the album. For me, It is the song that ties all of the songs together. It is the most stripped back song on the record and sounds exactly how it does when I wrote it. This song is about having someone in your life, but not actually having them. You feel close to someone, but it isn’t close enough for you. I didn’t feel like I had any control over the situation, but I wanted to articulate that if I did, I would do everything I could to always be close.
Take me out of this and you say nothing, say nothing more
Pretty eyes let this holy fire burn up
If it’s time for you it’s time for me too
If it’s right for you its right for me too
When the winter comes, steals the summer sun
Hold me like im yours, hold me like you should
And if i could carry us I would
And if i could carry us i would
— — — —
? © 2020
Dancing from a Distance
an album by Jenny Dee