Bright Morning Stars

The Wailin' Jennys

Red House Records, 2011

REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk


Over the past decade, Canadian trio The Wailin’ Jennys have established themselves at the peak of the ever-growing in popularity roots music genre. Crafting beautiful melodies to accompany their lush harmonies, the Jennys' three angelic voices combine to create finely crafted tunes full of depth and character.

Original members Ruth Moody (vocals, guitar, banjo, accordion) and Nicky Mehta (vocals, ukulele, guitars) are joined by new vocalist Heather Masse for their forth excursion Bright Morning Stars.  Stars is fine collection of songs firmly based in American roots music. Shades of country, gospel, bluegrass and modern folk music blend seamlessly. They can pull off an amazing Andrews-Sisters type vibe as on the country swing tune “Cherry Blossom Love,” sing a soaring a capella on the title track, and on my favorite track on the disc “Storm Comin,” deliver a dark and moody spiritual. Their careful songcraft produces deeply soulful songs that still have a smart, modern polish on them.

In an industry where almost all artists rely on studio doctoring to get their sound, The Jennys need no such assistance. These lovely voices have a natural power that defies any kind of studio trickery. Soaring and proud, sometimes soft and ethereal, they deftly work within a variety of styles that remain firmly rooted in American traditions, weaving a tapestry of vocal harmonies unrivaled today. Not since Crosby, Stills, and Nash has there been such a concise, shiver inducing vocal sound. Apart, each has a strong, pure voice, together they are amazing. And this becomes even more so when backed by the inventive and beautifully structured instrumentation that always keeps their voices up front.

It’s rare these days to enjoy the pure human voice in its natural state. No one does it better these days than The Wailin’ Jennys.

Rating: A-

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