Jen Ord’s Many’s a Mile is her first solo release and features songs that most will be familiar with but have been treated to a makeover which leaves them sounding fragile and vulnerable. This sense of vulnerability is enhanced by her choice of accompaniment, generally a rising piano part, subtle strings, and on occasion, a pipe.
Live Not Where I Love is the number which includes the lyrics that provides this release with its title. It features a subtle string part which morphs as the track continues and is reminiscent of bird-song. It’s a track about feeling the absence of a lover. It is this distance between sweethearts either old or new which emerges as the thematic link throughout Many’s a Mile.
I Wonder What is Keeping my True Love Tonight again emphasises the distance between the protagonist and her man - who seems like a cad - due to mistrust. It carries a succinctly wrapped up message for anyone who has fallen into the hands of a false love, ’the fonder I loved you, the falser you grew.’
Slightly more ambiguous is Ord’s version of The Cuckoo which is the most beautiful arrangement on this EP. The pipe, piano, and string interlude is stunning.
Song of a Drinking Man’s Wife could be the wife’s answer to the Seven Drunken Nights. It tells a tale of an estranged wife whose husband won’t put down the bottle, which leaves her feeling neglected and results in a broken home. This unaccompanied track showcases Ord’s innocent voice which on occasionally rises to an understandable pitch of disappointment at the drunken husband.
Jen Ord’s voice is delicate and angelic, but on occasion that delicacy is over-powered by the accompaniment. However it is the musical embodiment of all the things our mothers cautioned us of to protect ourselves from heart-break. It serves as a warning to all young ladies against false love, long-distance affairs and binge-drinkers.