Song Premier: Karyn Oliver’s “Jenny” Faces Some Hard Truths Behind Absence

[Cover photo credit to Tina Pastor Photography]

Singer/songwriter Karyn Oliver incorporates Blues and Country elements into her work, including her upcoming album, Cherchez La Femme, which arrives on September 23rd, 2023. Oliver is also part of the nationally touring Americana/Folk group, No Fuss and Feathers.

Born and raised in Maryland, Oliver was immersed in music from a young age, and released her first solo album in 2009, Red Dress. She followed this in 2011 with the New York-written Magdalene. Working in North Carolina, she crafted 2019’s A List of Names. Having moved to Texas in 2020, she’s been working on Cherchez La Femme with a specific twist, to work with all-female artists.

We’re delighted to premier the song “Jenny”, which will be released on May 19th, 2023, from Cherchez La Femme today on Wildfire. The track grapples with the idea of whether we can change and whether people in our lives should be prepared to wait for us to change, rather bravely facing possibilities more easily shied away from about our own culpability. Sonically, the uplifting and warm guitar elements bring a reflective feeling to the song, but never undermine a decisive feeling that carries the song as a whole.

Karyn Oliver says about the new track:

Oftentimes we wait for people to change, and oftentimes they don’t. “…you waited 27 years here, tried to help me see my way clear, never made it out of low gear…”. Sometimes leaving is the only thing left to do.

It seems salient to add that the song could be ambiguous about gender, with a neutral speaker talking about a female’s absence. Though the single cover art might suggest a male figure is the speaker, the possibility that both characters are female isn’t the most common thing in popular music, with many more songs featuring a male speaker lamenting the absence of a female character, or a female speaker lamenting the absence of a male. For that reason, it’s also a significant song that unveils interesting emotional layers, as well as adding to the complexity the speaker faces, wondering if they are to blame in this outcome.

On “Jenny”, Oliver plays acoustic guitar, 12 string electric guitar, and provides lead and backing vocals. Katherine Etzel acts as Producer, provides backing vocals, and is the mixing engineer. Cheryl Prashker drums, Carolann Solebello plays bass, Kate Maguire plays electric guitar, and Scott Anthony is the mastering engineer.

Oliver comments more about her motivation and choices when working on the new album:

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was once asked how many women on the Supreme Court would be enough. She immediately answered, “9”. Since the court had long had 9 men, why not 9 women?

There is very little I can do to put 9 women on the Supreme Court, but what I can do is put all women on my record. There are countless recordings featuring nothing but men, so why not all women?

In the past I have worked with mostly male colleagues. In an effort to be a part of the solution, I set myself a challenge for this project to use only female musicians, and I have to say the results are gorgeous and good for my heart. Trusting my songs to so many women has given me more than I could have wished for.

The songs on this record explore the universal in the specific, and the political in the personal. The subjects range from romance (“Dance With Me” – a song I wrote for my husband), to a child’s desire for a broader world (“Fabulous Flying Machines”) to grief and celebration of life (“Pelican” – a song I wrote for my late sister).

On every new project, and every new song, I am always reaching for something more. I am always trying to learn something new, or grow in a new direction. I learned a lot in the writing and recording of these songs, and it’s time to set them free.

And here are our lyrics for “Jenny” for further reflection:

“Jenny”, words and music by Karyn Oliver:


You forgot the good when you left

Said I was your perfect regret

Still don’t think I understand that


Six months sitting by the phone here

Finally got what I had long feared

Just looked up and you were gone dear

I’d blame you if I could

You can’t be gone for good


You said I haven’t really grown yet

If you had pain you never showed it

Still I suspect I might have blown it

I’d blame you if I could

Please don’t be gone for good

Long nights staring out the kitchen door

Still don’t know what I was looking for


You waited twenty seven years here

Tried to help me see my way clear

Never made it out of low gear

I’d blame you if I could

Looks like you’re gone…

I’d blame you if I could

Oh god, you’re gone for good


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