Travel & Culture » Atlantic Canada

What we’re listening to – Compostela, Jenn Grant

A collection of songs inspired by love, life and death, Jenn Grant’s Compostela is a heartfelt tribute to her mother, Spain and her lakeside home.

Three-time Juno nominee Grant took home the award for Solo Recording of the Year at the 2016 East Coast Music Awards for the album, released in 2014. The PEI-born, Halifax-raised singer-songwriter collaborated with husband and producer Daniel Ledwell to create Compostela, which means “field of stars” in Spanish.

After her mother passed away in 2012, Grant went on a sojourn to Spain. She and Ledwell then moved from Halifax to nearby Lake Echo, where they built a home studio nestled in the forest and overlooking a lake. Those three events inspired her fifth album (her third with Ledwell).

On Compostela, Grant’s ethereal yet soulful voice is joined by a who’s who of Canadian singer-songwriters, including Sarah Harmer on “Trailer Park” (think folksy forlorn love song), Justin Rutledge on “Bring Me a Rose” (her mother’s presence is felt here, especially when Grant sings “When I grow up I wanna be / A picture of my mother holding onto me”), Rose Cousins on the catchy, atmospheric “Hummingbird” (listen for references to Lake Echo), and Ron Sexsmith on the dreamy, melancholic “Barcelona” (one of a trio of songs inspired by that Spanish holiday).

While on the whole a mellow, melodic album, Compostela has a few ditties to shake things up: “Canadian Maple Grove” is a darker, psychedelic-folk-tinged tune, and “Spades” features fellow Nova Scotian and alternative hip-hop artist Buck 65 (a.k.a. Rich Terfry) rapping.

Throughout the album, a mix of guitars, harps, flutes, violins, congas, Wurlitzer, piano and lap steel beautifully enhance the velvety warmth of Grant’s lovely voice. It’s folk-pop gorgeousness.