40 DAYS (Red House) The Wailin' Jennys
Unspeakably good. Literally stunning. I'm falling deep into the well of this record.
I figured I was in for a pleasant experience, but the beauty and the power of this trio is far beyond that. Each of the voices is its own universe, first of all. None of these singers needs the others, and so the joining of forces is truly mighty. None of these writers needs the others, and none of the players. The more I listen, the more amazed I am.
These women come from deep folk traditions, and that's an important element to the story. Cara Luft comes from folk singing parents and a lifetime of guitar playing, her rhythm work on acoustic is truly dense, muscularly musical. (When you consider her sound on their badass cover of "Old Man," you'll see what I mean. She rocks.) But that's just a turn of the diamond, as her ballad of the forgotten, "Untitled," reveals. She is a deep and funky wonder.
Ruth Moody comes from the more lyrical, Celtic side of the tracks. Classically trained in piano and then voice, she became the lead singer for the venerated Canadian group Scruj Macdhuk, which broke up in 2001. She has that celestial purity in her voice that cannot be learned or developed, and which can heal wounds. She seems to have instigated the idea of collaboration with Nicky Mehta and Cara Luft at the Winnipeg Folk Festival that year, looking to sing with other women. Wasn't long and a few gigs afterward that they were headed for the Jacksonville Folk Alliance that led to a summer of festival work as The Wailin' Jennys.
Ruth sings the joyful opener, and Cara the arresting second tune on the record, and the web starts to spread around you. And when Nicky Mehta starts singing "Arlington"--
do you go little bird