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The Wailin’ Jennys – Southport Arts Centre
Considering the sheer beauty of the sound that can be achieved by harmony singing it’s surprising that there isn’t more of it about. Considering the sheer beauty of the sound that can be achieved by harmony singing it’s surprising that there isn’t more of it about. Hirsute men in waistcoats and boaters have probably given the genre a bad name, but if tonight’s performance is anything to go by its reputation will soon be restored to its rightful place. Three attractive women, dressed in black, all singer songwriters in their own right, combining to make sounds which give the word heavenly a new meaning. Singing songs from their 2004 album 40 days, and their latest, not yet released album, their accomplished vocal styling could make any songs sound good, so with astutely chosen covers of songs like Neil Young’s “Old Man” and The Waterboys’ Mike Scott’s “Bring ’Em All In,” they really have a winning formula. Their own songs are also very good and instantly accessible, with newcomer Annabelle Chvostek holding her own with those of founding members Ruth Moody and Nicky Mehta, and with all three displaying disarming good humour, comic timing and musical accomplishment on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bodhran, accordion and harmonica, they seem destined for wider success. A sold out venue is fitting testament to the regard that this languorous out of season seaside town has for the talent of the Canadian trio and the merchandise table does great business at the end of the gig. And what a way to end a gig. Politely waiting for the rapturous applause to die down, the three step beyond the microphones to the front of the stage for as near perfect a rendition of the Irish standard “The Parting Glass” as you are ever likely to hear. No gimmicks, just effortless three part harmony, a cappella, with palpable silence as they pause to draw breath between verses. They are away to Australia for a few months, but come back to the UK for some festival appearances, including Brampton Live, in July.