The Wailin’ Jennys Have Nothing to Cry About
The Martlet – University of Victoria Student Newspaper – Canada
By Dylan Toigo
Sweet and soulful harmonies will ring through the rafters of Alix Goolden Hall on Sept. 18, when Juno Award-winning trio The Wailin’ Jennys wrap up nine months of touring with a stop in Victoria.
The critically acclaimed roots and folk group, based out of Winnipeg, has been busy touring North America since the February release of their new album, Bright Morning Stars. Made up of soprano Ruth Moody, mezzo Nicky Mehta and alto Heather Masse, The Wailin’ Jennys sing with the kind of seductive grace that can silence a crowd in an instant. Since the release of their 2005 Juno-winning debut 40 Days, the band has been a fixture in folk circles around the world and has gained international recognition for mesmerizing vocal harmonies and adept songwriting.
On his website nodepression.com, Michael Bialas suggests “[The Wailin’ Jennys’] melodies rate with that higher profile trio of Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.”
The group’s latest record, which is featured heavily in their live performance, hit the top of Billboard’s bluegrass chart within weeks of its release and has remained in the top 10 ever since. The album has been praised by media and listeners alike, and the girls could not be happier about that.
“It’s been amazing,” Moody says, speaking on the phone from her home in Winnipeg. “We constantly feel so lucky to have the fans that we do.”
Summer tours consist of playing at various music festivals, a practice that can be taxing at times.
“Because it is festival season, it’s a lot of criss-crossing back and forth [across North America] and so it ends up feeling really busy with lots of travel,” Moody says. She is quick to point out, however, that despite the heavy travel schedule, playing festivals is “so rewarding.”
Other rewards on this tour have included playing at the prestigious Newport Folk Festival, infamous for being the event at which Bob Dylan went electric, as well as spending time with legendary blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples.
For long-time fans of The Wailin’ Jennys, there is a nice mix of songs from all of their full-length albums included in their live shows, says Moody. For the most part, however, the evening will feature tracks from Bright Morning Stars.
“We’re always growing as musicians and always pushing ourselves as writers, and I think we did push ourselves on this record,” says Moody. “We sort of wrote outside our comfort zone a bit … it is at times really celebratory and joyous, and then at other times sort of intimate and introspective.”