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The Wailin' Jennys
Bright Morning Stars
Review By Steven Stone

 

  The concept of a "Folk Super-Group" sounds strange, sort of like "the folksinger's Porsche." But no musical amalgamation deserves this moniker more than The Wailin' Jennys. With three world-class lead vocalists who are equally accomplished songwriters The Wailin' Jenny's deliver polished folk music that still has soul.

Bright Morning Stars highlights Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta, and Heather Masse's strong songwriting chops as well as their impeccable pipes. Each contributed four original songs to the album. Nicky Mehta's anthemic "Sing Low Sail High" leads off the disc. It sets a high standard with a delicate ascending melody line that soars above the richly textured backing vocals. Ruth Moody's "All The Stars" has a more intimate feeling and a melody that lends itself to harmonic embellishments, which the Jennys' add with impeccably good taste. Heather Masse's "Bird Song" was the title song from her latest solo album. For the Jennys' version she changed the key, added more acoustic instruments, additional harmony parts, and doubled lead vocals. In the Jenny's arrangement she also appended a "round" to the end of the song.

Produced and engineered by Mark Howard and David Travers-Smith, Bright Morning Stars displays a level of polish worthy of a super-group. Recorded in a cottage near Haliburton, Ontario, the Jennys returned to their Canadian roots by employing primarily Canadian session players. Multi-string instrumentalist Bill Dillon has played with Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel while electric guitarist Colin Cripps plays regularly with Kathleen Edwards. Ruth Moody's brother, Richard, plays viola while Jeremy Penner, who also tours with the Jennys, contributes all the fiddle parts.

If you love the sound of three beautiful folk voices blending in perfect harmony, music that is sweet without being cloying, and voluptuous acoustic arrangements, then you simply must hear Bright Morning Stars. It will start any day right.

 

 

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