Sunday, April 20, 2008

In Review--Snow, Tulips & Harmony

The Wailin' Jennys
The Lincoln Theatre

Mount Vernon, Washington

Friday, April 18, 2008

While tulips bloomed throughout the valley, snow fell from the April sky, and tourists crowded country roads, Winnipeg's The Wailin' Jennys set loose dazzling harmonies. The quartet's debut performance in Skagit Valley drew a capacity (sold-out) enthusiastic audience. The Jennys delivered one immaculate tune after another, with a few hearty side trips tossed in. I doubt anyone left The Jennys' Lincoln Theatre performance disappointed.

Members of the Jennys', Ruth Mood (soprano vocals, accordion, banjo, guitar), Heather Masse (alto vocals & standup bass), Nicky Mehta (mezzo-soprano vocals, trap drum, harmonica, guitar) and Jeremy Penner (mandolin and fiddle) performed music--not easily categorized. Perhaps we can invent a new genre called human music. The musicians performed new work and traditional songs, as well as, favorites from their recordings, 40 Days and Firecracker. The women sung
a cappella and accompanied pieces with razor sharp intonation and perfectly calibrated harmonies.

Some highlights include Ruth Moody's tribute to her parents (Heaven When We're Home), who drove down from Victoria for the concert, and Nicky Mehta's poignant Starlight with a narration of the tragic lyrics. Heather Masse showed off her jazz vocals on Lead Belly's Bring Me a Lil' Water Silvy and on Tiptoe Through The Tulips in which the women recalled The Andrew Sisters (and thankfully, not Tiny Tim). Heather also brought out some of her penned tunes, including one about driving a long ways across Upstate New York to visit her boyfriend (who decided to become an organic farmer).

The encore is also worth mentioning which included the universal spiritual One Voice. A moment of silent anticipation was followed by a synchronized breath that launched the final song, (The Parting Glass), of an unforgettable concert on a memorable evening. The Wailin' Jennys with their charm, humor and vocal harmonies will be a hard act to follow. And of course there will be fans who will start a count down until these women return to the Lincoln Theatre's stage.

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