By John Pfeiffer, The Aquarian Weekly..... When I was a young guitar player I accomplished some pretty good things, but to get them I spent much time running into wall after wall due to my lack of guidance and know-how. I pretty much had to learn everything the hard way and that ain't a lot of fun. But in the year 2009 there are plenty of great musicians and industry people out there waiting to help budding talent if you decide to let them in, and in Lauren Pennington's case she's opened the door wide. Her new CD is titled Spun and features old school guidance from several well-known industry cats. Pennington is a quiet presence on the Shoreworld turf, full of lyrical insight and passion, and like most bonafide talents on the scene, largely underground. When I opened the CD jacket I immediately recognized Jon Leidersdorf, owner, operator and producer at Lakehouse Music, and co-writer on Pennington's latest project. Also on board is big gun Gary Lucas, a guy best known for his work with Captain Beefheart and Jeff Buckley (Gary co-wrote two of Jeff Buckley's most famous hits, "Grace" and "Mojo Pin," which later became the title track and the opening track on Jeff's double platinum Sony album Grace), the above mentioned Freddie Fry who's been around so many famous gunslingers it makes me want to cry, long-time lap steel troubadour Joe Harvard, Peter Meyers, and the ignitable Tommy Fuller, a guitarist who's co-written with Dave Mason and Frankie Previte, had Fleetwood Mac cover one of his tunes, played with U2, Bruce Springsteen and Pine Top Perkins, done movie soundtracks and, good Lord, the list is stupid crazy. All of this awesome experience plays out on Pennington's Spun, a 10-song journey into life's exploration of highs, lows and in-betweens put side by side with killer musicianship, passion and heartfelt exploration of sound. Lauren's voice is reminiscent of a young Carol ?King with it's dusky jeweled resonance, harmony and smooth tone. The production of Leidersdorf here is reserved and simple, not loaded with distractions or effects and allowing content to shine through quite well. Best songs on the disc are "Life," a Liedersdorrf/Pennington "penned" number that shines bright and airy with rhythmic acoustics, cool back beats, catchy pop choruses and chimey electrics ala the Traveling Wilburys meets Brenda Carlisle charm. The Frye composition "With Love In Her Heart" features Fuller and Frye with their "Youngblood's" vibe, pairing Fuller's lucid acoustics with Frye's ukulele skills and Lauren's trippy, hippy vox. "Love Like This" is a bouncy, funky romp that features the intricate fretwork of Gary Lucas. Utilizing echo-drenched bends, trills and melodic note snow sprinkled over organs, tight bass, drums and the sexy cool vocals actually allows you to hear the fun he's having here. This isn't for the grumpy at heart, it's all fun, baby. "Ghosts" has a distinct Joni Mitchell vibe, which I love. Unusual chords and lots of nuance make this a stand out song that will take you back to click clacks, platform shoes and days and days of Aquarius sunshine. B3's, Wurlitzer's and finger-picked acoustics push this tune into Pennington's dreamy tripped vocal as Peter Myers backs her up well. The end of the disc picks up into more boisterous alt rock territory with "Had To Leave" and "Too Curious To Quit" and both show me that Lauren can step up with the rest of the rockers and hold her own when she's plugged in. Good stuff from someone who I really don't see enough of on the Jersey scene. Spun displays Pennington's ability to pass between genres, moods, feelings and worlds and arrive at a sound that she can truly call her own. Go visit Lauren over at her site and demand to see her live. Myspace.com/laurenpennington.