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Wailin’ Jennys – Bright Morning Stars
Blurt – www.blurt-online.com – US
By Lee Zimmerman
Like Dala and the Be Good Tanyas, the Wailin’ Jennys have captured the hearts and affections of fans and folkies alike with their delicate three part harmonies and a host of inspired melodies. A combination of three impressive stand-alone resumes (those of members Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta and Heather Masse), they’ve evolved as a female folk super group of sorts, one that thrives in the midst of their successful solo careers. This, the third studio album by this charming trio from Winnipeg Canada, soars on the strength of their glorious harmonies and arrangements that manage to be both delicate yet effusive all at the same time. Like their peers, the Jennys have a way of making original tunes – “Bird Song,” “Across the Sea” and “Asleep at Last” being the most stunning examples – emulate an age-old pedigree, as if they were reframing traditional music and claiming it as their own.
Granted, there’s certain preciousness in their approach, which often blurs the distinction between individual entries. That’s the hazard borne by these sparse set-ups, where the vocals are rendered practically a cappella and the accompaniment often seems incidental. Still, it’s a small price to pay, and songs like the gospel-tinged “Storm Comin’,” the Celtic-like hymns “Mona Louise” and “Bright Morning Stars,” and the music hall melody of “Cherry Blossom Love” ably diversify the mix while maintaining the charm. Suffice it to say Bright Morning Stars is a lovely way to start any day… and an equally absorbing way to close it out as well.