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The Wailin’ Jennys – Bright Morning Stars
Buddy Magazine – Texas
By Tom Geddie
Bright Morning Stars by The Wailin’ Jennys is sure to be one of the best CDs of the year for people who let the songs get into them rather than using those songs as background noise. It’s poetic folk stuff with some joy, some sadness and regret, and some wondering or wandering in what often seems like an olden or timeless time.
The harmonies by Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta, and Heather Masse shine as they alternately share lead vocals on their own, sometimes fragile songs, and support one another; there’s just enough musical support to carry the songs.
Parts of the slow, brooding “Storm Comin’” – “when that storm comes, don’t run for cover” and “when that rain falls, let it wash away . . . the tears and the trouble” – are gospel-sounding a cappella. The simple, repetitive title song – a traditional, and the only one none of the women wrote – about day breaking in the soul is, indeed, a cappella.
The yearning and beautiful “Bird Song” – “I see the flowers blooming, opening for spring / I’d like to be those flowers, open to everything” – is tastefully accompanied by acoustic bass, drums, electric guitar, and fiddle.
Producers Mark Howard (who’s worked with Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams) and David Travers-Smith mix bits of acoustic guitar, accordion, banjo, and ukulele into the 13 songs.