CD Reviews 

The Wailin’ Jennys – Bright Morning Stars 

Penguin Eggs

By Monica Miller

Human ears seem to be genetically pre-programmed to connect instantly and deeply with the sound of vocal harmonies. Part-songs and madrigals, barbershop to doo-wop, from The Everlys and The Drifters to CSNY and Fleet Foxes—we just can’t get enough. It may well be the vocal version of the mother’s heartbeat.

Which brings me to Bright Morning Stars, the third full-length studio recording from Winnipeg’s The Wailing Jennys. To not be smitten you would have to be among the most curmudgeonly of listeners. If you want to rock the house, choose something else, but for the right time, place and mood you won’t find anything more lovely.

Long favourites among Canadian folk and roots music lovers, The Jennys have achieved the difficult goal of breaking into the U.S. market. An early boost from Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion didn’t hurt, but they’ve continued to work hard and develop their fan base the old-fashioned way, on the road, one audience at a time.

Add to that, original Jennys Ruth Moody and Nicky Mehta have had to find a replacement Jenny twice since the original EP release in 2003—a pitfall that has sunk many a musical ship. With Heather Masse now well-settled in the alto chair, and Mark Howard (Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris) in the producer’s chair, the new release feels akin to being rocked gently in the arms of someone who loves you unconditionally. Allow yourself the pleasure of relaxing in the warmth of The Wailin Jennys’ new offering.