Janice and Jayne

This group’s name, JJ White, sounds like it belongs to an enterprising reporter or intrepid detective in the movies of yesteryear. In fact, JJ White are two sisters from Northern California destined to challenge Sweethearts of the Rodeo for the title of country’s hippest sister act. Janice — the dark-haired one — plays guitar and sings faultless harmony. But it’s younger sister Jayne’s lead vocals that steal the show, with a smoky soprano that’s a fetching blend of Melissa Manchester’s panache and Bobbie Gentry’s sultriness — especially on Janice and Jayne‘s ”Jezebel Kane,” a story-song that borrows not a little from Gentry’s classic saga of suicide in the Mississippi Delta, ”Ode to Billy Joe.” The Whites know how to vary the pace, too, their smartly produced repertoire ranging from the gospel feel of ”Have a Little Faith” to the insinuating slow boogie of John Hiatt’s ”The Crush” and the good-woman-done-wrong spunk of ”Less Than Zero.” Several of the songs lack much distinction, and there’s a certain sameness of vocal treatment throughout. But on the whole, JJ White have created a name to remember. B

Janice and Jayne
  • Music