I’m glad I took the time to get fully acquainted with Jayne Trimble’s 11 track album ‘In the Morning’ for at first, I wasn’t sure if my innocent ear deceived me – that it really is that good.
For it is, that good – worth waiting to strip back the layers on each track so it’s revealed in entirety.
First revelation – the purity of her voice. A sweet innocence and clarity betrays an inner complexity, like touching a raw nerve exposed. There is this strange, other-worldly, ethereal quality to her angelic tones, juxtaposed with lyrics so laden, it hurts. This runs through all 11 tracks. Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell, even Kate Rusby come to mind.
Second revelation – Although it’s easy and sometimes obvious to make comparisons, favourable or otherwise, Jayne Trimble’s style is uniquely her own. A strong sense of individuality comes across, despite echoes of others, Jayne Trimble makes each song her own, unique in all the world.
Third revelation – That combination of sounds – melodic introductions, meandering endings, Hammond organ, plucked strings, long purring cello, conjure all sorts of imaginings, beautifully intertwining. The Hammond becomes a striking yet subtle feature – like a ghostly character lurking there, giving several tracks a haunting, almost supernatural propensity.
The opening track ‘Lay My Burden Down’ lunges straight into traditional narrative folk mode:
Well, if I’d have listened to my mother / I’d have been gone about six months / But instead I listened to my lover / and lay my head down here.
So the story unfurls – and it ain’t happy, a tale of “what if” and “if only”… what started off as an alluring and joyful union has now become a living hell, a prison cell. Oh dear.
Despite the lilting melody, this is the dark and sombre offering of a trapped soul and troubled mind – and herewith we are introduced to the theme that runs throughout the aptly titled album ‘In The Morning’ for that’s when and where she finds solace, outside at dawn, with the free birds and their song.
Now, the tone is set for ‘The Cloak’. Bitter, harsh and unravelling, the weary traveller is trundling down the tracks, with a cold wind against her back.
Oh Lord I can’t go back / Can’t go back again / Keep me on narrow tracks / so I can see the light again.
Told you it hurt. But track three is a different entity – intriguing and poetic, titled ‘Paris of Green’ (whatever can it mean)? Once more the territory of dark tones shrouded in melody; black velvet cello with plucked guitar harken a long list of questions to a spouse from whom there appears to be no answers, except perhaps, sleeping with someone codenamed ‘Paris of Green’. Intriguing, indeed. None the wiser. Is ‘Paris of Green’ (rhyming with Strawberries and cream) metaphor or the madness that emerges from troubled domestic bliss, years after children have grown and flown, she only ever thinks of leaving, where the dust never settles, year after year? A beautiful song but not my favourite. That would be the next one. And the one after that.
‘Meet Me at the Gate’ is as mysterious as it is mystical.
There was a field / At the brow of a hill / I had a vision / Time stood still.
It could be an encounter with a lover or some deity undiscovered – whatever, it breathes a spiritual dimension or some biblical connection, laden with rural imagery of ravens and hungry crows, lillies in a field of wheat, beasts of the land, burdens and heavy loads. This easy melody, is on another level.
‘Rainy Day Georgia’ is as good as it gets – a song that lingers and remains long after it ends, filling the gaps in the mundanity of routine tasks. It’s an ear worm of a song, in the best possible taste. It makes the day seem better somehow. ‘My Love Goes to the Grave’ is tragic and sad.
I dreamed that you were standing there / with purest look of love / Your eyes they came to look at mine / but your soul had flown away.
It is a song of loss, grief, death – real or symbolic. The ghostly Hammond’s haunting notes drift in and out, as the story ends dramatically, with a goodbye note, and a rope. ‘The Girl Called Getaway’ is a strange one – beware the girl with golden hair, green eyes and skin so fair – she’ll take his money, lead him astray, “her mind is trouble / a girl called Getaway / She comes only from God knows where / where she’s going she will not say”.
Deliberately it plods along, like a horse on a dust track. Once more, Trimble hints at some supernatural, nymph-like visitation among the shadows of dawn. ‘Kingdom Come’ has another interesting intro, more upbeat.
When the wind blows / On a Sunday morning late July / I’ll be coming round a mountain / with eyes like a lighthouse / they sit out on a mountain / they warn me of the dawn.
Featuring a sing-a-long chorus “It’s a long, long road, to kingdom come” which echoes that spiritual journey theme she’s been exploring all along, tantalising yet blindingly honest and open. The track called ‘3 Horses’ brings us right bang back into that visionary, biblical landscape I mentioned earlier. For a girl that lives in old stables (I wasn’t born there mind you), I am by nature drawn to things horsey when they present – and here is another Jayne Trimble song that leaves me feeling like I’ve slipped into some dream-like, faraway realm.
Last night as I lay sleeping / I heard a trumpet call / three horses stood there grazing / On the banks of Babylon.
It is a song of epic proportion. A trumpet heralds a heavenly character descend from on high, a la Book of Revelations. This one gives goose bumps, not simply because of its theatrical manifestations, but because of its revelations about the artist – the scope of her vivid imagination and ability to revel in such glorious, unbridled imagery.
The penultimate track, ‘Heartache of Goodbye’ sees Jayne’s voice at its sweetest and most innocent. The chorus line is “in the morning” – the album title, for it is time to say an aching good bye – but not without one last track. ‘Cold as Hell’ is frankly, quite chilling and contrasts starkly with the rest. She brings in other voices, to sing in harmony.
It’s cold as hell / and I won’t get out, I won’t get out alive.
Tongue in cheek perhaps; a parody on anxiety. It’s something of a horror story – a nightmare-esque, spooky eulogy. There’s something freaking her out, “creeping all around this house / It’s come in through my door and rips my flesh and bones / Oh I won’t get out alive / If I should die tonight / would you decorate my grave with lillies that are white as snow / When all is said and done, will you let my loved one’s know / that I tried to get out alive.”
It’s a twisting, interesting epilogue – a song for this season of Hallow’een maybe. When all is said and done, Jayne Trimble’s ‘In The Morning’ is a carefully crafted collection of intelligent, haunting and curious songs, beautifully sung and presented – timeless, gentle folk songs – with a lot more going on.
Her voice, quite simply, is to die for; enchanted.