Jennah Barry

The Company House, Halifax NS, January 24

Photo: Lindsay Duncan

BY Ryan McNuttPublished Jan 25, 2015

Sometimes, the heart of a good folk performance is the strain involved, the sense that you can hear the grit and determination it took to wrestle a song from the ether and tussle it into something catchy and hummable. Yet there's something equally compelling about the seemingly "effortless" voice — one with its inarguable sweetness that grabs the ear and leads you gently to the (often) raw feeling at the heart of the material.
Though she complained about sounding a bit grizzled due to a cold, Nova Scotia's Jennah Barry has always had one of those "effortless" voices, warm and inviting while still able to tease and tear at emotional truths. Opening with "Black Hole' from her 2012 album Young Men, Barry held court at the Company House with a sweet, soulful set aided greatly by the addition of violin and two backup vocalists. Even her most breakable little songs, like the wistful "Honey," gained strength and heft through the accompaniment. The highlight may have been a fun-yet-poignant Dolly Parton cover, "Touch Your Woman." The song's dedication — "to consent," said Barry — was, like much of the set, both pointed and playful.

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