The Wailin’ Jennys are bringing their powerful voices to the Alix Goolden Hall Sun, Sept. 18.
The Juno-Award winning folk-roots trio made up of the distinct voices of Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse is promoting their latest studio album, Bright Morning Stars, named after a traditional Appalachian hymn, which they perform a capella.
The new album, released in February is their first studio album since 2006’s Firecracker. It’s also the first studio album with Heather Masse.
“It feels like a long time coming,” says Mehta (vocals, guitar, harmonica, drums, ukulele) “We released a live album with her in 2009 but it’s different to have a studio album. People really love her songs.”
Each of the ladies wrote four songs for the album, on which they sing the lead.
Mehta’s offerings include the opening track, “Swing Low Sail High,” and the mysterious ballad “What Has Been Done.” She also co-wrote the lyrics on “bird Song” with Masse who has a jazz background.
The album has hints of jazz, gospel, pop, Americana and traditional folk.
“It fits in with the other Jennys albums,” says Mehta. “It deals with familiar themes, finding one’s place in the world, navigating the twists and turns in life and not freaking out, and making peace with everything around you as much as you can. It’s consistent with what we’ve done in the past but hopefully it also has enough new flavour for people.”
Bright Morning Stars was co-produced by David Travers-Smith and Grammy nominee Mark Howard, who has also worked with Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan and The Tragically Hip.
The album was recorded in 2009, just four months after the birth of Mehta’s twin boys, who she takes on tour. “We’ve had them on tour with us since they were seven months old,” she says. “It’s a real logistical challenge, it’s a bit crazy and it’s tough but at the same time I wouldn’t do it any other way.” It also helps that Mehta’s partner, Grant, is the band’s sound engineer. “That’s the only way we could have done it. There was a time when I thought it would be impossible,” she says.
Expect to see some fantastic musicianship and hear a mix of older and newer material, including some covers that will be on a soon-to-be released iTunes exclusive EP. “It’s a six-song EP of live-off-the-floor versions of older tunes and new covers recorded in Toronto,” says Mehta. M