Singer/songwriter Cassandra Jenkins writes with an impressionistic intimacy, making astute observations that dovetail neatly with her blend of folk and lush ambient pop. A native New Yorker, Jenkins came up through the East Coast folk scene playing in her family’s band before launching a solo career in the mid-2010s. Concurrently, she became active as a collaborator, playing in the touring bands of Eleanor Friedberger, Craig Finn, and Purple Mountains. On solo releases like 2017′s Play Till You Win and 2021′s Overview on Phenomenal Nature, her music took on an experimental bent, folding in elements of dream pop and dusky indie rock.
Born into an active musical Manhattan family, Jenkins learned to sing and play guitar at a young age. By the time she was 12, she was touring the folk festival circuit alongside her parents and two siblings as part of a family band specializing in Western swing, folk, and jazz. A bustling creative community and monthly house concerts at the Jenkinses’ Upper West Side home were a regular occurrence for much of her life. After studying visual arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, she landed a job as an editorial assistant at The New Yorker magazine.
Gigging on the side, Jenkins maintained her musical connections and continued to develop her songwriting, eventually releasing a 2014 solo EP. Set to an atmospheric backdrop of torchy Americana, her songs mined inner landscapes with an impressive poetic grace. A few years later, she made her full-length debut with the more stylistically varied Play Till You Win. Rich pop textures and moody synths joined with acoustic guitar and strings in a delicate balance as she extolled her own introspections and visited unique characters. After accepting an invitation to play bass in Eleanor Friedberger’s touring band, she spent the next few years working as a sidewoman to Friedberger, Craig Finn, Lola Kirke, and David Berman’s Purple Mountains project prior to his 2019 death.
Signing with Ba Da Bing Records, Jenkins made her label debut in 2021 with Overview on Phenomenal Nature, an enchanting, almost spiritual set recorded with Brooklynite Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman). ~ Timothy Monger