As a debut artist in a crowded field, Jenai stands out via a distinctive vocal that blends breathy soul with swing-for-the-fence grit and power.

As a debut artist in a crowded field, Jenai stands out via a distinctive vocal that blends breathy soul with swing-for-the-fence grit and power. "Be a Woman," "Don't Hold Back Your Heart," and the title cut are funky, smoldering romps, while "South Side Stomp" and "Papa Don't Ask, Mama Don't Know" are swingin' little numbers loaded with personality. Fuzztone guitars and a rousing Jenai vocal drive "Loraine," but the album loses some of its vigor with the requisite, if well-performed power ballad "It Won't Be Me"; better along those lines are the gorgeously swaying "Time to Dream" and bluesy "Written on My Heart." Brent Maher's production keeps it all together, forsaking rote radio ear candy for savvy musicianship and sonic versatility. A promising debut artist that dares to be different.—RW

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