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Wailin' Jennys Take Folk Roots to New Heights of Harmony

(Posted March 7, 2011)

The Wailin' Jennys, a folk-influenced trio from Canada, will perform at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 18, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Three women plus three vocal styles plus more than six instruments, plus a fondness for country-and-western puns equals the Wailin' Jennys, a contemporary folk group that combines ethereal harmonies with spot-on song selection. The group will perform at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 18, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

Known for their folk-influenced harmonies, the Wailin' Jennys have recently crossed over to contemporary country and pop with their most recent album "Bright Morning Stars." The group will perform a sampling of songs from the current album, such as the title track, "Swing Low, Sail High," "Mona Louise," "Across the Sea" and "You Are Here."

Known for soaring, eclectic live concerts, the Jennys have a great track record for Pennsylvania concerts. Their 2009 live album, "The Wailin' Jennys Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House," was recorded in Jim Thorpe, Pa. Other Jennys albums include "Firecracker" (2006), "40 Days" (2004) and a 2003 EP.

The trio started its entertainment in Canada, winning several Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy. After frequent appearances on the public radio show "A Prairie Home Companion," the group expanded their audience beyond Canada to the United States and internationally.

"The Wailin' Jennys are the new Queens of Modern Old Time Music. Hearing them was a sweet revelation."
Jerry Douglas, renowned dobro player and session guitarist

The trio blends three distinct voices belonging to soprano Ruth Moody, mezzo-soprano Nicky Mehta and alto Heather Masse. The three women also play a variety of instruments, including accordian, banjo, bodhran, guitar, drums, harmonica, ukelele and upright bass.

All three women had solo careers before joining together and several have solo albums to their credit.

Ruth Moody recently released the solo album "The Garden" in 2010 and received recognition for her song "One Voice" from the International Songwriting Competition.

Nicky Mehta, the founding member of the Wailin' Jennys, also has released a solo album in 2002 called "Weather Vane." She has written such memorable Jennys songs as "Arlington" and "Begin."

Heather Masse was trained at the New England Conservatory of Music as a jazz singer and has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow. She also has performed on the album "Joy Kills Sorrow" and recorded "Tell Me Tonight" with the group Heather & the Barbarians. She released two solo records, "Many Moons," and "Bird Song."

"Their sweeping melodicism defies boundaries, feeling at once edgy and familiar, delivered in harmonies that could melt a Manitoba February," wrote a critic with the Boston Globe. Jerry Douglas, the world renowned dobro player and session guitarist, said "The Wailin' Jennys are the new Queens of Modern Old Time Music. Hearing them was a sweet revelation."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.