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ACT welcomes wailin’ wall of sound 

It’s not Waylon Jennings – it’s Wailin’ Jennys It’s not Waylon Jennings – it’s Wailin’ Jennys.

The Ridge Meadows Arts Council presents The Wailin’ Jennys live on the main stage at the ACT on Oct. 9 at 8 p.m.

The Wailin’ Jennys are an acclaimed Winnipeg acoustic roots trio, combining the talents of Cara Luft, Nicky Mehta and Ruth Moody.

"This is will be a terrific concert," says Robert Campbell, theatre director at the ACT. "The Wailin’ Jennys have been on a rapid ascent in the folk world ever since their first ‘one-off’ performance together at Winnipeg’s Sled Dog Music in 2002 and they have had great success on Country radio as well."

They are each recognized solos performers, but when the three sang together, the enthusiasm from the audience was so explosive and the word spread so fast, they were almost forced to form a band to keep up with the demand for performances and recordings.

Within months of their first performance, the Jennys were playing prestigious folk festival gigs across Canada and receiving serious media attention. They also released a self-titled EP, which charted at campus radio across the country.

Their performance at the Maple Ridge ACT will feature songs from their debut CD, 40 Days as well as other songs with the Jennys’ trademark breath-taking harmonies, sweet folk/pop sound and impressive songwriting.

Released at the end of March, 40 Days has already received enthusiastic reviews. It prompted the Ottawa Citizen to declare, "There are now only four Juno nomination spots left open for next year’s group album of the year." The Saskatoon Star Phoenix predicts "this trio could become the Dixie Chicks of folk." Meanwhile, the Jennys’ single ‘Old Man’ received an impressive response from Canadian country radio, charting at #45 nationally and getting a great response from B.C. listeners.

The Wailin’ Jennys feature alto Cara Luft, otherwise known as "Jenny Van Halen". She is known as much for her vibrant comical demeanor as for her powerful guitar playing. Born to folk-singing parents, her early exposure to traditional music combined with her self-directed love of ’70s and ’80s rock music has resulted in a fusion of driving acoustic rhythms and lively word play. She has played Lilith Fair and England’s International Guitar Festival and her first full-length album was nominated for a 2001 Prairie Music Award.

Mezzo Nicky Mehta has been called a poet and songwriter of exceptional depth and maturity whose ability to "walk with sorrow" has made her music vital and hopeful; Mehta’s songs reflect a wisdom sometimes hard-won but never uncelebrated. Her first album "Weather Vane" was nominated for a 2002 Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Roots Recording and she was recently counted among the most promising up and coming singer-songwriters in North America by the venerable Sing Out! publication.

Soprano Ruth Moody, former lead singer of the Juno-nominated roots act Sruj MacDuhk, rounds out the group with her pure voice and impressive multi-instrumentalism. A classically trained vocalist and pianist known first as an accomplished, versatile singer of traditional and Celtic music, her own writing shines in its diversity and maturity.

"This group is definitely one to watch in Canada," says Campbell. "I really encourage people to come out and see them here in Maple Ridge."

The Wailin’ Jennys concert is the second concert of the 2004/2005 season for the Maple Ridge ACT.

The season includes international, national and regional artists from a variety of artistic disciplines. For more information, visit the website at www.artscentretheatre.org.