CD Reviews 

The Wailin’ Jennys: 40 Days 

Despite the fact that they don’t need each other, Canadian folk veterans Cara Luft, Nicky Mehta, and Ruth Moody never get in each other’s way Despite the fact that they don’t need each other, Canadian folk veterans Cara Luft, Nicky Mehta, and Ruth Moody never get in each other’s way. These three female singer-songwriters all have the pipes (and careers) of standout soloists, and they achieve a subtle magic together. In fact, the most captivating moments of 40 Days are the split seconds when the solo sections early in each track melt into three-part harmony.

The Wailin’ Jenny’s first full-length album unreservedly showcases these trance-inducing vocals as its greatest strength. The trio’s intricate harmonies can be more fully appreciated when they have plenty of space to breathe. All three women are skilled writers, but Moody’s material, marked by simplicity and an affinity for country/bluegrass, struck me as the most appropriate for the group. Folk deejays are particularly fond of "One Voice," the album opener. However, Moody’s "Beautiful Dawn" (to which Kevin Breit contributes an excellent dobro part) and "Heaven When We’re Home" are just as strong. Mehta’s "Set This Freedom Free," a well-written but sparse melody that doesn’t require much in the way of vocal gymnastics, is similarly conducive to the Jennys’ sound.

These tracks don’t represent the stylistic variety of the album, which includes more groove-oriented, up-tempo numbers. Once within the Jennys’ harmonies, one is perfectly happy to simply remain a while, suspended in the close-woven texture.