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Diverse folk-pop trio to perform at Pepperdine
Juno Award-winning folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys bring their achingly perfect vocal sounds to Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 21.
Starting as a happy accident of solo singer/songwriters getting together for a one-time-only performance at a tiny guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, The Wailin’ Jennys have grown over the years into one of today’s most beloved international folk acts. Founding members Nicky Mehta and Ruth Moody along with New York-based Heather Masse create some of the most exciting music on the folk-roots scene, stepping up their musical game with each critically lauded recording and thrilling audiences with their renowned live performances.
In 2004, The Wailin’ Jennys released their first full-length album, “40 Days” to great critical acclaim, netting a 2005 Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. Bolstered by their frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s public radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” The Jennys exploded onto the roots music scene, performing at packed venues across the Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world.
The Jennys’ sophomore album, 2006’s “Firecracker,” served as a powerful follow-up to their career-making debut. Artistically, the record found The Jennys stepping out of the folk realm and into the world of alt-country, pop and rock. Garnering much attention, it was nominated for a Juno Award and won a 2007 Folk Alliance Award for Contemporary Release of the Year. “Firecracker” spent over 56 weeks on the Billboard charts.
For their latest album, 2011’s Juno-winning “Bright Morning Stars,” The Wailin’ Jennys joined the ranks of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris and recorded with award-winning producer Mark Howard. Co-produced by frequent Jennys collaborator and Juno Award-nominated David Travers-Smith, the album combines fresh and innovative sounds with the band’s signature harmonies — a perfect mix of Americana, pop and traditional folk.
Although known primarily as an acoustic outfit, The Wailin’ Jennys have a diverse musical background that has shaped their musical sensibilities. Soprano Ruth Moody (vocals, guitar, accordion, banjo, bodhrán) is a classically trained vocalist and pianist with a burgeoning solo career. She’s an accomplished, versatile singer of traditional and Celtic music and was the former lead singer of Juno-nominated roots band Scruj MacDuhk. Mezzo Nicky Mehta (vocals, guitar, harmonica, drums, ukulele), a classically trained dancer raised on ’70s a.m. radio and heavily influenced by alternative pop, was nominated for a Canadian Indie Music Award for her striking debut solo album, 2002’s Weather Vane. Alto Heather Masse (vocals, upright bass) is a Jazz Voice graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, who has performed in Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing and Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings.
With their varying backgrounds, each of the Jennys is unique in their individual expression. Together, they forge a unified folk-pop sound — all delivered with the irresistible vocal power of three.
Tickets, starting at $22 for the public and $10 for full-time Pepperdine students, are available by calling (310) 506-4522 or visiting arts.pepperdine.edu. More information about The Wailin’ Jennys can be found at www.thewailinjennys.com.
The Wailin’ Jennys
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 21
Where: Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
For tickets — which cost $22-$45 for the public, and $10 for Pepperdine students — call (310) 506-4522 or visit arts.pepperdine.edu.