The Halifax artist takes you on her Honeymoon Punch
by Holly Gordon
Everything’s coming up Jenn Grant. Two years after her heartbreaking sophomore album, Echoes, the Halifax-based singer-songwriter tucks her heart safely into her sleeve and dances forward with the newly released Honeymoon Punch – a new chapter following what felt like Echoes’ mourning.
“It feels like Echoes was the divorce, and now I’m on my honeymoon,” says Grant, laughing over the phone line from her north end home.
“I wanted to do something…that would be more kind of fun and gutsy and striking,” she later adds. “You know, a little bit different.”
That striking gutsiness finds itself in Motown tones and more rock ‘n’ roll and pop sensibilities; Grant credits the latter two to fiancé and Honeymoon producer, Dan Ledwell (of In-Flight Safety). There’s a confidence in Grant’s voice that holds its usual gorgeous tone, while it moves away from a normally folk aesthetic into get-up-and-dance territory.
“I’m very comfortable with changing things around completely, and so I really wanted to just record it in a total opposite way and it just, you know, it just kind of lends itself to that naturally I guess.”
Grant’s recently released video for Getcha Good, an ode to her neighbourhood that Grant wrote with Nancy Sinatra in mind, lays it all out. An uncharacteristic electric guitar riff (until this album, that is) opens to Grant, clad in rain boots, a pink coat, white scarf and mittens, running from door to door grabbing friends for a street dance party. There are glimpses of fellow Haligonians Ledwell, Tanya Davis and Aaron McKenzie Fraser dancing in a quasi-flash mob, choreographed by Kym Butler. It’s jellybean colourful, relaxed and, above all, fun.
Grant’s smiles in the video are infectious, but she has journeyed to get to this point. Her referenced divorce album, Echoes, came out of a painful, ending relationship. While it gave her exposure – the track Everybody Loves You was featured on Grey’s Anatomy – Grant says the following time was difficult, including eight months she didn’t tour because everything was too heavy.
In December, Grant fell and punched her hand through a window; after surgery on cut tendons in her wrist, she was able to take the cast off just in time to shoot the Getcha Good video at the beginning of January.
Hovering between 2010 and 2011, Grant’s violinist – and friend – Kinley Dowling accepted a contract to tour with Hey Rosetta!, leaving Grant down a band member just before Honeymoon Punch took off (the din in the background of this interview was the sound of Dowling moving out). In addition to Kinley, the talents of Ledwell, Sean MacGillivray, David Christensen and Mike Belyea make up the album’s players.
But Grant is on her honeymoon, and there’s no stopping her. Long-time friend Andrew Sisk has replaced Dowling, Grant is able to play post-injury and a certain fiancé is keeping her from heartbreak. The end of January brought more good news for Grant: three East Coast Music Awards nominations, including Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year, Fan’s Choice Video of the Year (You’ll Go Far) and SOCAN Songwriter of the Year (with Buck 65 for Paper Airplanes). None of these are for Honeymoon Punch, so the ECMAs will be seeing more of Grant next time around.
Through it all, Grant is patient. She says touring internationally is on her list of things to do, hinting that Germany and Australia hold the most allure. But she’s not rushing. Album release dates fill her current schedule, and Grant is excited to let things unroll, as they will.
“I’m excited for that to happen, when it happens,” Grant says, of dipping her toes into different markets. Her smile is audible.
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