Former resident wails with new trio 

A familiar voice will once again echo in valley A familiar voice will once again echo in valley.

Cara Luft, who was a regular on the acoustic music scene here in the mid- to late-90’s, is coming back to the north Okanagan and this time will be singing with her new group, The Wailin’ Jennys.

The Winnipeg-based trio, also featuring Nicky Mehta and Ruth Moody, is about to tour the Okanagan, Kootneys and Vancouver Island.

Not to be confused as a Waylon Jennings tribute band, The Wailin’ Jennys will combine harmonies and instruments at Lorenzo’s Cafe in Ashton Creek Tues Nov 19.

"Every time I come back to the mountains, I wonder why I left," said Luft, a singer who also plays guitar and mandolin. "I love the environment and the accessibility to everything. I’m looking forward to coming back and sharing what I have been working on."

Luft, who orginally moved to Vernon from Calgary in ’95 and attended Okanagan University College, frequently took the stage at the now closed Pandora’s Bistro in Vernon and other local hang-outs for folk/acoustic music players. She also played the now defunct Restoration Music Festival and Salmon Arm’s internationally-renowned Roots and Blues Festival.

"I applied to the Lilith Fair while I was living in Vernon and played the show when it went to Calgary."

After deciding that school wasn’t for her, Luft made the choice to follow music as a full-time profession and moved to Canada’s folk music capital, breeding ground for the likes of Neil Young, The Guess Who and newer artists such as The Wyrd Sisters and Chantal Kreviazuk.

"I knew if I wanted to make it, I would have to go back to the city," said Luft. "I feel like I belong in Winnipeg… We can afford rent here and there is government backing for the arts."

Last year was a successful year for Luft, who saw her first full-length solo CD, Tempting the Storm, nominated for best roots recording at the Prairie Music Awards. She also hooked up with the other women from The Wailin’ Jennys.

After performing two sold-out gigs in Winnipeg, the trio went down to Florida to attend the Folk Alliance Conference and success has followed them since.

"It’s been fun performing with each other. We get good feedback," said Luft. "The Winnipeg Folk Festival booked us to open the festival last year."

Joining Luft in the group is Moody, who plays guitar, keyboards and percussion and was a member with the popular Celtic band Scruj MacDuhk. Mehta, playing guitar and percussion, has had a successful solo career. Her debut CD, Weather Vane, was nominated for a Canadian Independent Music Award.

The Wailin’ Jennys, who have so far recorded an EP and plan to record a full-length CD in the spring, will perform both original and cover music at Lorenzo’s Tuesday.