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Jennifer O'Connor
Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars
(Matador)
by Jericho Brown
10.01.06

Over the Mountain... is a mixed bag. On one hand, Jennifer O'Connor's vocal capabilities are lacking. She needs to find her own voice, literally. She has some vocal talent, and it shows through on a few tracks. For the most part, she delivers her performance in a flat,
lifeless, bla-bla-bla.

This is really unfortunate given what's on the other hand: great writing talent. The songs themselves are very strong. Some composers fall into a style and have trouble escaping their own formula. No song on
Over the Mountain sounds like any other song on the disc. The lyrics are simple, direct and powerful.

The actual instrumentation is sparse. There is just enough guitars and drums, etc. to convey the song without distracting from it. No intricate bridges or extended solos here. Just a few guitars and a great song.

Looking for the stand out downloads? "Exeter, Rhode Island" is an unlikely breakout, poppy go-getter. Jennifer's vocal talent shows through and the song moves and rocks a bit. "Bullshit Maze" will having you reaching for your lighter. Jennifer O'Connor fans will still be requesting this ballad twenty years from now. "Turn It Down" sounds like early Suzanne Vega. "Tonight We Ride" is deep, slow and romantic, it would hold its own on any "Date Night" mix CD.

We'll see big things in the future from Jennifer O'Connor, but most likely as a writer for more talented vocalists.