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Wailin' Jennys

Firecracker – 2006 (Red House)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Wailin' Jennys

As one of those acts that don't fit neatly into any single classification, there's a temptation to place the Wailin' Jennys into that all-encompassing "Americana" category of mainly acoustic, roots-based music that speaks not only to country music fans, but to folks who aren't quite sure they're willing to admit they like country music. The hitch here, of course, is that the all-female Jennys trio are from Canada, though, of course, a whole lot of great "country" music has come from north of the border over the last 80 years or so.

The Jennys have gained a certain amount of popularity based on their debut effort "40 Days," a Juno winner, followed by a series of appearances on public radio's "A Prairie Home Companion," and "Firecracker" continues to highlight their strengths - exquisite three-part harmony backed by haunting and powerful elements of old time music (though there is an electric component), richly textured to frame the intelligent songwriting talents of the trio - Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta and newest member Annabelle Chvostek (who's been on board for more than a year).

Perhaps to exemplify that she's not relegated to secondary status, Chvostek's "The Devil's Paintbrush Road" is the opening track, and stands as one of the strongest cuts, though Moody's "Prairie Town" and Mehta's "Some Good Thing" are likewise very appealing among a strong overall selection. If you just like good, close harmony, don't overlook the Jennys.