It’s not hard to believe that Jana Horn is from the South. Her lyrics (which might best be described as poetry set to music) have a warm, friendly charm; it’s as if she would give you a ride home if she saw you on the side of the road, or give you a hug right when she meets you. Like many in the folk genre, her songs have storytelling narratives, themes of getting through hard times, and holding truth and love above anything else. Reservations is her newest endeavor, a folk band including Jana Horn, Paul Price (of Good Field), and Jason Baczynski and Alán Uribe (both of Tacks The Boy Disaster).
“The Road We Traveled Down” is the first track on the EP and likely will become one of Reservations’ signature songs. I say this because it was the most lively and accessible on the album, and you can tell Jana really enjoys playing it – at one point I could tell she was smiling (during her line “your all too familiar gaze is falling on me in these days”). At the first chorus the song gathers a strong and decisive beat that carries throughout the rest of the track (which I insist ends too abruptly). It is everything you want an American folk song to be, with lyrics like “I know you like I know my mother’s ring / like the hymns we sing on Sunday morning / glory glory glory all the glory be.” “The Road We Traveled Down” is both soft and strong, much like its creator.
The album moves to a darker place in “Hewlitt Park” when Jana paints a portrait of a relationship ending because of pride and lies. Her lyrics (“I could feel you holding on for dear life / but I was on my way down and you were chained to my pride / and I didn’t want you to drown / but you would not let go and I took you with me”) are as haunting as they are beautiful. We’ve all been there. When you blame yourself for the failure of a relationship it can lay heavy on your shoulders long after its demise. In the chorus she begs to know, “Who are you now? / who taught you that the dark is a place where the truth comes out? / I hope it was not me / I hope it was not me.”
Despite being able to compare Reservations’ sound to Brandi Carlile, Patty Griffin, or even some recent albums to come from Jenny Lewis, Jana finds a rhythm and cadence all her own that will hopefully catch on with many fans of this genre. She is someone fresh, with genuinely contemplative songs full of wisdom and pondering that far surpass her age.
You can read another review of Reservations on KUTX’s site – where they got to sit down and talk with the band about this fantastic “rainy day, acoustic folk-pop” EP for a bit (damn, I wish I’d coined that description first!). Check them out live on April 18th at the Old Settlers Music Festival in Driftwood or on April 23rd at Holy Mountain (617 E 7th St) with Paperhaus & Jack Wilson.
– Bailey Cool