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WJs Turn Famous Canadian Troll Into a Fan 

A few years ago, singer/songwriter Ruth Moody gathered a trio of female musicians together for a one-night gig at the back of a Winnipeg guitar shop called Sled Dog Music. A few years ago, singer/songwriter Ruth Moody gathered a trio of female musicians together for a one-night gig at the back of a Winnipeg guitar shop called Sled Dog Music. At the time, Moody was the lone woman and lead singer in Juno-nominated roots band Scruj MacDuhk.

“I just wanted to sing with women again,” she says. “We were only going to sing for one night, but we sold out and had another show.”

Audiences, it seemed, couldn’t get enough, so the women continued playing together as the Wailin’ Jennys and they haven’t stopped since. They toured, first Canada then the US, eventually making their way to the UK and Australia, and somewhere in the midst of it all, they cut 40 Days, which won a Juno for best album by a traditional/roots music group.

They’ve also been making new fans at every stop. It turns out that even music legend Bruce Cockburn has been smitten by their sound. After hearing the Jennys sing in Winnipeg, Cockburn approached them about accompanying him during his main stage performance at Edmonton’s Folk Fest, after which, he confessed to feeling “like a troll among angels.”

It was a flattering description (for the Jennys, anyway), considering Cockburn’s role as an elder statesman in Canadian folk circles.

“These are the things you don’t ever forget!” Moody exclaims. “It was an honour to sing with Bruce … the last few years have been so exciting, and this was like the icing on the cake!”

In a day when loud music dominates the charts, the Jennys are content to stay true to their pure, melodious harmonies and traditional acoustic instruments.

“Should we be more upbeat?” Moody muses. “We don’t play party music. People come to listen to the three part harmonies. They seem to be interested in what we’re doing. We have a quiet, open connection with our audience.”