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The Wailin Jennys make their mark

Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass., October 9, 2006

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

About the only thing that The Wailin’ Jennys, a Canadian female trio, and the late, great Waylon Jennings have in common seemingly is that the Jennys “stole” their name from him.

But while their music may have nothing to do with Jennings’, they showed their music is no joke either at the second of two sold-out shows.

The Jennys recently released “Firecracker,” combining folk along with bluegrass and country sound. In concert, it was quite clear that The Wailin’ Jennys should not be immediately pigeon-holed into the folk bins.

That proved to be a definite positive during their 90-minute show. They tended to mix it up sufficiently musically to keep it quite interesting. Many songs were highlighted by the beautiful three-part harmonies of Annabelle Chvostek, Nicky Mehta and Ruth Moody, sometimes done a capella (a fine version of Leadbelly’s “Bring Me L'il Water, Silvy,”) which was particularly captivating. Each is fully capable of taking on the lead singing role.

Mehta, who said she had the most non-folk background of the three, ended up taking more of the lead vocal chores and does a fine job with a powerful voice.

While most songs contain acoustic guitar, Chvostek played a lot of mandolin, while Moody sometimes spiced the songs with banjo, giving a bluegrass feel. Moody mixed it up on banjo by turning in a good reading of her gospel song, “Glory Bound” from “Firecracker.”

About the only unfortunate moment was the difficulty the Jennys had in getting through the final song of the night, “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Irish song. They had several starts and stops, even breaking into laughter, somehow caused by their manager. They eventually got through it, but the difficulty undercut the beauty of the song.

But, fortunately, that was about the only misstep during the evening where they not have caused anything to confuse them with Waylon Jennings, but they made their own mark nonetheless.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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