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.
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.