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The Wailin’ Jennys: Riveting and Fantastic
Ontario Arts Review – Canada
By Serena Williamson
As part of the National Arts Centre’s Prairie Scene, singer-songwriters the Wailing Jennys took the stage Tuesday night. What a performance!The Wailin’ Jennies are Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse—three distinct voices that together make a gorgeous sound. Hailing from Winnipeg and New York, their album 40 Days won them a Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year in 2005. Frequent guests on Garrison Keillor’s public radio show A Prairie Home Companion, the Jennys perform to packed venues across the Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world. They blew us away with show-stopping harmonies, impressive instrumental prowess, and breathtaking songs that were a blend of their original work, traditional folk, blues, and even jazz.
The Jennys had us riveted from the first chord. Their voices blended perfectly as they accompanied themselves with Ruth on the banjo, Nicky on the Irish bodhrán hand drum and Heather on upright bass. The second song continued the fabulous momentum, but all the instruments changed. Throughout the show, Ruth added guitar and accordion, while Nicky added guitar, drums and ukulele. Their professional training and experience was evident throughout their performance. Soprano Ruth is a classically trained vocalist and pianist known as an accomplished, versatile singer of traditional and Celtic music. Mezzo Nicky is a trained dancer raised on classical music and heavily influenced by alternative pop, and Alto Heather is a Jazz Voice graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and an incredible blues songwriter.
This reviewer is rarely at a loss for words, but there is really not much more to say. They were fantastic, possibly the best group I have seen this year. We listened eagerly to every word of every song, were enthralled throughout the performance, and could have stayed and listened till morning! If you get a chance to hear these women, either on CD or in concert, you are in for a real treat.