Firecracker – The Wailin’ Jennys

Firecracker - The Wailin' Jennys

Firecracker – The Wailin’ Jennys

The second release from the tri-girl musical aggregate from Canada proves that even with a new contributor (songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Annabelle Chvostek), the Jennys’ music is still very tasty.

The Jennys perform mostly original material, and here each member has contributed four songs, and one traditional tune, “Long Time Traveler,” completes the roster. The Jennys’ brand of modern folk combines equal parts Celtic with Appalachian, blues, and old-time country, and wraps it all up with pitch-perfect multi-lead vocals. The band makes the most of its three voices, with harmonies and clever double leads in every song. Though each Jenny has a different songwriting style, they share a love and respect for beautiful melodic lines and a willingness to involve other members in every song.

Although the Jennys play quite a few instruments themselves, with Chvostek on guitar, mandolin, and violin, Nicky Mehta on guitar and harmonica, and Ruth Moody on guitar, accordion, and banjo, they also have a good-sized band, with Joe Phillips (acoustic bass), Mike Hardwick (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, dobro), Kevin Breit, Justin Abedin, and Brian McMillan (electric guitars, dobro, and mandolin), and others. Amplified and acoustic instruments coexist, with the electrics residing back in the mix.

But the Jennys’ voices are the true lead instruments, and the album’s sonics never obscure or dilute the emotional impact of the Jennys’ music.

Firecracker presents a first-rate opportunity to enjoy the Jennys’ powerful yet distinctly feminine musical style. As the French (and French-Canadians) say, “Vive La Difference!” – Steven Stone

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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