The Wailin' Jennys: Bright Morning Stars

~ Friday, 18 February 2011
Bright Morning Stars is the 4th major release from the popular Canadian 3 piece female group The Wailin' Jennys. As with their previous releases it is the vocal interaction of Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta and Heather Masse that is the star of the show. There is something comforting, warm and welcoming about what they do and they do it so, so well. All three girls have mesmerising voices and they write songs that allow those voices to take the lead with sympathetic arrangements playing the supporting role.

The pop overtones of album opener
Swing Low Sail High will guarantee them heavy radio rotation for what is as near perfect a song for summer as you will find. The girls sound oh so comfortable when they have a quality ballad to work with and All The Stars provides them with exactly that with rhythmic Ukulele playing of Justin Haynes blending perfectly with the strings of Richard Moody and Paul Mathew for a truly beguiling song. The acapella arrangement of the traditional Appalachian hymn Bright Morning Star is just stunning and a real hairs on the back of the neck moment. Previously recorded by Ruth Crawford Seeger, The Stanley Brothers and Sweet Arcade, the girls have added a version to the list that may become the benchmark. It is however Across The Sea that pips Bright Morning Star as the stand out track on this mighty fine album. This is a beautifully arranged song with the surprise inclusion of a flugel horn lending a haunted aspect to its atmosphere.

This is their most accomplished album to date with production to match and should surely secure the band as an act of international proportions, especially when they are capable of writing songs of the quality of Asleep At Last and You Are Here. My only complaint, and it is a small one, is that musically they have evolved very little since 2004's 40 Days. I suppose if it ain't broken....

[][][][] (4/5)