Biography 

The Wailin’ Jennys are Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse three distinct voices that together make an achingly perfect vocal sound.

Starting as a happy accident of solo singer/songwriters getting together for a one-time-only performance at a tiny guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, The Wailin’ Jennys have grown over the years into one of today’s most beloved international folk acts. Founding members Moody and Mehta along with New York-based Masse continue to create some of the most exciting music on the folk-roots scene, stepping up their musical game with each critically lauded recording and thrilling audiences with their renowned live performances.

In 2004, The Wailin’ Jennys released their first full-length album 40 Days to great critical acclaim, netting a 2005 Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. Bolstered by their frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s public radio show A Prairie Home Companion, The Jennys exploded onto the roots music scene, performing at packed venues across the Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world.

The Jennys’ sophomore album, 2006’s Firecracker, served as a powerful follow-up to their career-making debut. Artistically, the record found The Jennys stepping out of the folk realm and into the world of alt-country, pop and rock. Garnering much attention, it was nominated for a Juno Award and won a 2007 Folk Alliance Award for Contemporary Release of the Year. Firecracker had legs, spending over 56 weeks on the Billboard charts.

The trio’s 2009 release, Live at Mauch Chunk Opera House, also spent over a year on the Billboard bluegrass charts. That landmark live album bottled the lightning of The Jennys’ live performances with show-stopping harmonies, impressive instrumental prowess, breathtaking songs and, of course, witty stage banter.

For 2011’s Juno-winning Bright Morning Stars, The Wailin’ Jennys joined the ranks of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris and recorded with award-winning producer Mark Howard. Co-produced by frequent Jennys collaborator and Juno Award-nominated David Travers-Smith, the album combined fresh and innovative sounds with the band’s signature harmonies — a perfect mix of Americana, pop and traditional folk that has become a modern classic. Bright Morning Stars took home the Juno for Roots and Traditional album of the year in 2012.

In 2017, The Jennys turned 15 years old. To mark the occasion, the band took time away from the demands of motherhood to record and release a celebratory album for their fans: Fifteen. A carefully curated collection of some of their favourite songs, the new record was recorded true to their live show sound with their long time beloved side players, Richard Moody and Adam Dobres. Steeped in the artistry and elegance that has defined their career, the album presents the Jennys at their very best, highlighting their heartfelt vocals, otherworldly harmonies, and sophisticated arrangements. Fifteen was nominated for a Juno award in 2018 for Traditional Roots album of the year.

The Jennys will continue to tour their latest release through 2020, while also road testing new songs for an upcoming studio album.

For a detailed list of our accomplishments, go to our Awards, Nominations & Charts page.

For individual bios, please scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Moody

Although best known for her work with The Wailin’ Jennys, soprano Ruth Moody is an artist of remarkable depth and grace in her own right. Critics have lauded her ethereal vocals, impressive multi-instrumentalism (she plays guitar, banjo, accordion, piano, and bodhrán), and her talent as a songwriter. Writing with a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, her songs are timeless, universal and exceptionally well-crafted, all sung with a unique intimacy and honesty that is unmistakably hers.

Ruth was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition and was recognized by the International Songwriting Competition for her song “One Voice,” which has gone on to be a signature song for The Wailin’ Jennys. It has been covered by countless artists and has been performed in concert halls, churches and schools throughout the world.

Ruth released her highly-anticipated full-length solo debut, The Garden, in 2010.  Released via Red House Records, the album was produced by David Travers-Smith and features an all-star cast including neo-bluegrass band Crooked Still, Kevin Breit (Norah Jones, k.d. lang), Matt Peters of The Waking Eyes, Luke Doucet, Oh Susanna, and a guest appearance by The Wailin’ Jennys.

Ruth’s sophomore album, 2013’s These Wilder Things, sees her experiment with a more urgent sound, backed by another stellar cast including Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, American lap steel player Jerry Douglas and British guitar god Mark Knopfler. Raw and personal, These Wilder Things is a stunning triumph.

 

 

Nicky Mehta

Mezzo Nicky Mehta has been called a poet and songwriter of exceptional depth and maturity whose ability to “walk with sorrow” has made her music vital and hopeful; Mehta’s songs reflect a wisdom sometimes hard-won but never uncelebrated. Her debut solo album Weather Vane was nominated for a 2002 Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Roots Recording and the venerable Sing Out! publication counted her among the most promising up and coming singer/songwriters in North America.

As a founding member of The Wailin’ Jennys, Nicky has continued to capture hearts and imaginations with her music. She was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition for her masterful “Arlington.” As well, her song “Begin”, a compassionate ode to mindfulness, was both featured in the film The Cake Eaters (directed by Mary Stuart Masterson and starring Kristin Stewart) and on the season finale of Lifetime’s Army Wives.

Nicky gave birth to twin boys, Beck and Finn, in July of 2009. Four years later, she is now hard at work on her newest ‘baby’ — a long awaited sophomore solo album to be released in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Heather Masse

Although trained at the New England Conservatory of Music as a jazz singer, New York singer/songwriter ​Heather Masse​ is equally versed in a variety of American song traditions, which influences her more prevalent work in folk, pop, and bluegrass.

A member of the Billboard-charting folk group ​The Wailin’ Jennys,​ she has performed at hundreds of
venues across the world. She was a frequent guest on NPR’s ​A Prairie Home Companion,​ both as a solo
performer and as a member of The Jennys. On the show, she collaborated with artists such as ​Elvis Costello, Wynton Marsalis, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming​, and ​Emmylou Harris​.

In 2008, Heather released ​Many Moons​, an EP of jazz-inspired folk duets with pianist ​Jed Wilson​. She followed that up with her first full-length solo album ​Bird Song.​ Her solo debut on ​Red House Records,​ it showcased her luscious alto voice and her superb songwriting. The title track “Bird Song” won her an International Acoustic Music Award​, and in 2012 she also won a prestigious ​Juno Award​ for The Wailin’ Jennys’ album ​Bright Morning Stars.​

Masse returned to her jazz roots in 2013 with ​Lock My Heart​, an album of standards she recorded with piano legend ​Dick Hyman​ that had a long run on the jazz charts, and again in 2016, with her album August Love Song​ recorded with renowned trombonist ​Roswell Rudd​.

Heather continues to perform with The Wailin’ Jennys supporting their newest Juno-nominated album Fifteen,​ released on Red House Records. Heather can often be heard singing duets with Garrison Keillor or performing at venues across the country with pianist Jed Wilson, touring behind their new album ​Hold On​.

Heather currently lives in the Catskills of New York with her husband Ian, son August and brand new baby girl Ida Rose, who was a part of the recording sessions for Heather’s new album.

 

 



The Wailin’ Jennys are Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse Ruth Moody Nicky Mehta Heather Masse