The Wailin’ Jennys
True North Records/Redhouse Records
Simple Folk Music At It’s Most Complex and Most Beautiful.
Where o’ where does the time go? It doesn’t seem five minutes since Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta and Heather Masse aka The Wailin’ Jennys were never away from the UK; playing to ever increasing audiences that were awe struck at their combined wonderfulness.
Yet it’s now six years and assorted babies since their last album BRIGHT MORNING STAR….six years!
Even now the trio haven’t really got the time to devote to writing a whole new album so when the opportunity to gather together to record ‘something’ arose they put their heads together and came up with these marvelous nine songs; that they all loved in equal measure.
Perhaps an odd choice to open the record with; their haunting acapella treatment of the Old Churchyard is simply breathtaking; and sets the tone perfectly for what is to follow.
This is followed by a delicious old folk song called Wildflowers which captures the Wailin’ Jennys at their absolute best.
HANG ON A MINUTE!
‘An old Folk Song?’
No actually; it’s a revisiting of the classic Tom Petty song actually, but not that you would know it from this stripped back raw and emotional rendition that finds their voices harmonising and soaring in the most Angelic fashion.
As usual in these circumstances there will be readers who tsk at my ignorance at finding that I’d never heard Hank William’s Weary Blues From Waitin’; but after hearing the Jenny’s almost Spiritual version; I’m not sure I even want to hear the original!
It’s fair to say that Nicky, Ruth and Heather have shown great taste when selecting these songs with Classics like Boulder to Birmingham and Dolly Parton’s Light of a Clear Blue Morning rubbing shoulders with Warren Zevon’s starkly beautiful Keep Me In Your Heart and a personal favourite from Patty Griffin…..Not Alone.
Two songs tie for the accolade of ‘favourite track’ the stunningly beautiful Jane Siberry song The Valley; which sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it and….. and this is the oddest selection here…..but one that made my jaw drop the first time I heard it.
Simon & Garfunkel* both solo and together have been a bedrock of my musical education since the early 1970’s; so hearing The Wailin’ Jennys deconstruct Paul Simon’s Love Me Like a Rock has genuinely mesmerised me for a whole week now and I’m pretty damn sure it will continue to do so for years to come.
That’s the intrinsic beauty of this album; each disparate song is famous in it’s own rite and in normal settings wouldn’t and shouldn’t fit together, but due to the trio’s very own magical production values and arrangements they become very much Wailin’ Jennys songs; therefore making the album sounds intrinsically perfect from start to finish.
Released USA & Canada October 27th 2017
Released UK January 5th 2018
*Bookends by Simon & Garfunkel was the very first record I ever heard using the stereo format!