Her voice is gentle. She’s young and has a certain fragility to her sound. Then it dawns on you – what sounded fragile is hardened. The gentle voice masks a stirring undercurrent of emotion. And she may be young but she has lived.

And all it takes is one line. One lyric.

All it takes is Jadea Kelly telling you that “pain teaches your heart to grow” and you’re taken away into her world. Into the thoughts racing through her mind. Into her excellent new album, Clover.

Kelly, a folk singer from Whitby, Ontario, delivers on her third album with a strong set of songs, highlighted by the reflective yet optimistic opening track, “Wild West Rain” and the energetic yet heartbreaking, “Saintly Stare”.

The album, however, is more than just a few great individual songs. It flows. Each song blends into the next while sounding unique enough that you don’t lose interest. A lot of credit for this goes to the music on the album. The mix and the arrangements are excellent and the subtle and well-timed use of the drums and the bass help elevate Clover.

This is a folk record first and foremost but has some roots in country. Her voice has hints of jazz. Certain songs have the driving beat of a good rock song. And one song, even, has a guitar riff that almost sounds Spaghetti Western-ish.

Clover is not perfect. Some songs are stronger than others, Kelly‘s vocals need to be more powerful in certain places and the album tends to drag near the middle. But, while all of that is important, it doesn’t lessen the impact left by the record.

And that impact is significant enough that by the time “Violet”, the closing song, comes to an end, Jadea Kelly‘s voice is ringing in your ears and you’ve got a smile on your face.

Very gentle indeed.

You can check out Jadea Kelly at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield on October 3rd.

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