Born in Texas and raised in Carolina, singer-songwriter Lauren Jenkins has been involved in music since she was a teenager. After signing a record deal with Big Machine, Jenkins has spent her time carefully crafting debut album No Saint and creating a film to accompany the album’s release, showcasing all of her talents and not just her musical ones. Last weekend Jenkins made her first trip to the UK to perform as part of C2C: Country to Country, where she proved to be one of the weekend’s big surprises.
No Saint arrives today and it’s an intriguing and engaging debut from a singer-songwriter with plenty of promise. The album opens with the rocky Give Up the Ghost, a song with an 80s influence that takes you into the record with a bang. The punchy song introduces you to Jenkins’ smoky voice, which contains grit and experience. Second track You’ll Never Know is a little reminiscent of early pop/Country Taylor Swift but it has an edge that Swift has never been able to authentically catch in her music.
The first two tracks prepare you for the amount of variety contained across the record. Jenkins doesn’t stick to one style or sound, instead option to explore her vast musical palette and showcase what she’s able to do. Maker’s Mark and You features a low raspy vocal on the verses before opening up into a smooth but impactful good old-fashion Country ballad. The tempo picks up again with the upbeat Payday, a drinking song about getting rid of heartbreak and realising you’re free to do whatever you want with no constraints in life.
Elsewhere on the record Running Out of Road has the potential to be a big radio single, Cadillac has a more raw and organic sound than the other songs on the record, and All Good Things layers vocals for a raucous life-affirming anthem. The stand outs on the record for me are the gorgeous and emotive title track No Saint, and the beat-driven My Bar where Jenkins issues a strong warning to an ex.
The album comes to a close with Blood. The acoustic song pushes Jenkins’ distinctive vocals to the fore and you can really hear that unique tone she has. The song also suggests that Jenkins could turn her hand to jazz in the future, should she want to branch out into something different.
No Saint is an album that is rich in variety and explores every facet of Jenkins’ musical abilities. No two songs sound the same, the lyrics are personal and relatable, and her smoky voice is unlike anyone else in music right now. Her brand of Country is far removed from the poppier stylings of some of her contemporaries, and No Saint suggests she’s more interested in setting trends than following them.
Track list: 1. Give Up the Ghost 2. You’ll Never Know 3. Maker’s Mark and You 4. Payday 5. No Saint 6. Running Out of Road 7. Cadillac 8. My Bar 9. All Good Things 10. Blood Record label: Big Machine Release date: 15th March 2019 Buy No Saint