Jess Penner is a force to be reckoned with. She has already been quite successful with getting her music placed. However, with the release of her new CD Building Heaven, the networks and studios will have a lot of new material to choose from. Additionally, Penner is setting the bar high for subsequent indie releases in 2014.
It may have been three years since Penner released her last CD, but her new CD is so good, it was worth the wait. With a mixture of upbeat pop hits like the title cut, Doesn't Get Better Than This, Reach for the Stars, Washed Away and Keep on Loving Me and some introspective tunes like The List, Say, It and Fire, the CD provides something tasty for every one.
The production work of Penner's husband Kevin is extraordinary, highlighting the incredible vocal prowess of Penner. The musical arrangements complement the power of Penner's vocals as she interprets her heart-felt lyrics, which obviously have come from a strength born of adversity.
In fact, adversity is a major part of the reason it has been so long since Penner's last release. Penner's husband became very ill in September of 2012. Penner explains, “All of the sudden music did not matter at all. When someone you love is in danger and pain, everything else becomes trivial. We spent weeks in bed together watching Hulu and Netflix. It took almost a month to get a proper diagnosis. Eventually we were told that Kevin would go on to make a full recovery, but that it could take up to a year for him to get better.”
“It was the hardest and most beautiful time of my life. Hard because of the suffering and fear, but beautiful because of the realization that life is short and you have to be intentional about how you spend it. I was so shaken by the possibility of losing the most important person in my life that all of these emotions just started to pour out of me. Everything was polarized and exaggerated in my mind. I wanted to express that I wouldn’t waste another minute of my life focused on things that don’t matter, and somehow encourage other people to do the same.”
Penner started working on her new CD in January of 2013, and closes it with two of the strongest cuts, Fire and As You Go, summing up what she has learned from her recent experience: "Making this record was the best therapy."
Thanks to the Penners' triumph over adversity, everyone has the chance to enjoy these musical lessons. The songs that have come out of this experience are like golden nuggets from deep in the earth, a true treasure for the discerning listener.
The CD is available today at iTunes. I strongly recommend getting it immediately - these songs could save your life.