Wednesday, August 11, 2004

"40 Days" the debut CD by The Wailin' Jennys

Here are my thoughts about "40 Days", the debut CD by The Wailin' Jennys, a teriffic group from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

One Voice. One my relatives who heard the this track as her first Jennys tune, was immediately struck by the beautiful vocals. It certainly makes for a good show opener.

Saucy Sailor is immediately appealing. The song hooked me totally in when the vocals kick in on "You are ragged love and you're dirty love." The "Lah dee dah" part at the end is really nice. I wish this song was twice as long!

Arlington compels me to listen, like I'm about to hear a story.

Beautiful Dawn. Tasty acoustic sounds. Sounds like it could get airplay on country radio. The woman from Festival Records (who I met at a bookstore Jennys concert) did mention that something from the album was already getting airplay on a country station.

Untitled. The catchy intro makes this song instantly memorable. An obvious Cara (Luft) song. Nice placing of the viola to add subtle colour.

This Is Where. Beautiful, tasty harmonics in this one. And the vocals are just lovely; expressive and sincere.

Old Man. I can recall waiting in the Grant Park McDonald's drive-through when this was played live on CBC radio in 03 or 02. I remember the idea was to cover a Neil Young song after something like an hour's notice, or something like that. It's well done and will provide an anchor for audience members who are seeing the Jennys for the first time and are unfamiliar with the repertoire.

Heaven When We're Home. Another tune that could get on country radio. Very nice fiddle playing. Sounds like a song the Indigo Girls could play.

Ten Mile Stilts. Wow. Loses none of its immediacy and intimacy. The vocals sound so personal. It's almost like the song is being sung to one person. For me, the sparse piano recalls the Ladies cover of "Lovers In A Dangerous Time." I swear, when the three vocals converge, endorphins are released in my brain, demanding I hit the repeat button. A single listen is not enough.

Come All You Sailors. While I can't point to any one song as being truly representative of the Jennys sound, this is a signature tune, due to its popularity. People expect to hear this one all the time.

Take It Down. I bet this would be a good track to fall asleep to, so gentle is its sound. I'll have to try it.

Something To Hold Onto. Another strong Cara song that tells a story. Bittersweet.

The Parting Glass. Just three vocals, but what a way to end an album. Would make a good show closer, too, with its lullaby-like style.

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