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The Wailin’ Jennys – Bright Morning Stars
www.soundblab.com – UK
What is clear to most of us now is that folk is once again popular, surging to the surface to bask in the glow of musical acclaim. Anybody can have a go, whether you’re British, American or otherwise. A steady stream of artists have once again made folk cool. The Wailin’ Jennys join this stream with their latest effort.
What you need is something unique, something to set you apart from the growing trend, to hold you aloft of your brethren. Mumford & Sons have an outstretched ache, while The Low Anthem specialise in gospel tinged, downtrodden songs. The Wailin’ Jennys are more of a breeze in sound and slightly more puritanical lyrically. You can imagine them brushing their hands through the heads of wheat as they harmonise vocals, wandering in fields. ‘Swing Low Sail High’ is a pop opener perfectly crafted for the radio: “Setting sun don’t sink before I found my heart”. Don’t be fooled though, these women can do the foreboding sound as well, proven by ‘Storm Comin’ and ‘What Has Been Done’. The country which is spread through the record is squarely set in America, out on the porch and in the small towns, like country songs of old.
For some, these songs might be too clean cut, lacking in any kind of grit or dirt to get your teeth into. What is for sure is that these are well-crafted songs, most of all in the melody but also in their hushed musical sound. Whether they can penetrate the mainstream with what is a basic and well-trodden formula is where the uncertainty lies.