The New Yorker

Cassandra Jenkins


FOLK Earlier this month, Cassandra Jenkins was poised to make her Radio City Music Hall début, opening for St. Vincent, when the headliner, wary of a congested backstage in the age of viruses, scrubbed her tour of supporting acts. Just as well. Jenkins, who heads her own bill at Bowery Ballroom, thrives on intimacy—no room seems small enough (especially as her audience swells). The singer’s recent album, “An Overview on Phenomenal Nature,” trots an emotional mile without rising above a purr, both in terms of Jenkins’s imperturba­ble vocals and their subtly shifting backdrop, where strategic flashes of saxophone dance around lyrics like punctuatio­n

marks. The album’s most striking moment is its deviation—“Hard Drive,” a spoken-word track dropped in from a cool Laurie Anderson universe. The song rewards beyond its parameters, demanding the listener turn a closer ear to the more ostensibly convention­al ballads that surround it. Claire Rousay, a chic manipulato­r of field recordings, opens.—Jay Ruttenberg (Oct. 22.)

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