Wailin’ Jennys to perform Feb. 20 at Luther

Jan. 29, 2010

Luther College Center Sage Series will bring the Wailin’ Jennys to the Center for Faith and Life stage for a concert performance Saturday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m.

The Decorah appearance is part of the 30-city tour by the Billboard chart-topping, folk-Celtic-bluegrass-bluesy music trio from Canada.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, Feb. 4 online at http://www.luther.edu/programming/boxoffice/centerstage/. Ticket price is $22, $20 for seniors age 65 and over, $15 for youth age 4-18.    

Tickets can also be purchased at the Luther Box Office, telephone (563) 387-1357, located in the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther campus.  Box Office hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, Thursday nights until 7 p.m. 

The Jennys exploded on the popular music scene in 2006 with the release of their “Firecracker” CD.  The album won the Indie Acoustic Project award for Best CD of 2006–Acoustic Ensemble, and the North American Folk Alliance Award for Best Contemporary Album in 2007.

The trio’s fan base mushroomed after their performance alongside Rosanne Cash at the prestigious Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Scotland, and appearances on “A Prairie Home Companion,” Garrison Keillor’s popular program on public radio. They have drawn progressively larger audiences at live performances across North America and appearances in Australia, the United Kingdom and continental Europe.

The Jennys’ music has been called “a fresh acoustic breeze from Canada’s mid-western heartland.”  The trio of soprano Ruth Moody, mezzo Nicky Mehta and alto Heather Masse delight listeners with their intuitive harmonies, engaging stage presence and uplifting repertoire.

Moody, who plays guitar, banjo, accordion and bodhran, and Mehta, who plays guitar, harmonica, ukulele and percussion, are natives of Winnipeg and are the charter members of the group.  Masse, a New York-based singer and stand-up bass player, became the critical third voice, rounding out the group’s vibrant three-part harmonies.

Their 2006 album, “Firecracker,” spent more than 30 weeks in the top five of the Billboard Bluegrass chart, the top 20 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers, Top Independent Albums and Top Internet Albums. It rose to No. 2 on the Amazon top sellers chart.

In 2005, their debut album “40 Days” won a Juno Award–Roots and Traditional Album of the Year, from the Canadian Music Awards. The trio’s most recent CD is “Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House,” released in August 2009.

Moody is a classically trained vocalist and pianist known first as an accomplished, versatile singer of traditional and Celtic music.  She is known for her moving and haunting ballads and for her down-home, upbeat numbers.

Mehta is a poet and songwriter of depth and maturity whose ability to “walk with sorrow” makes her music vital and hopeful. Her first album “Weather Vane” was nominated for a 2002 Canadian Music Award, and the publication Sing Out! listed her among the most promising up-and-coming singer-songwriters in North America.

Masse, who holds a degree in jazz voice from the New England Conservatory of Music, is steeped in the jazz tradition. In addition to the Wailin’ Jennys, she performs with the bluegrass band The Wayfaring Strangers, has appeared on NPR’s “World Cafe,” and with the Somerville Theater and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Upcoming performers in the Center Stage Series include Danú on March 9.

For more information on the performances in the Center Stage Series, visit http://centerstage.luther.edu.