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Album Review

Though Cara Luft, a founding member of the Wailin' Jennys, was replaced by Annabelle Chvostek, the band's tight harmonies and pretty folk songs haven't changed at all on their second album, Firecracker. In fact, they've even gotten better. Chvostek's voice is seductively low and versatile, and it blends well with and adds a lot of strength and depth to the higher ranges that Ruth Moody and Nicky Mehta provide. All three Jennys are also great songwriters, and everything on the album is well done, with thoughtful reflective lyrics about love and friendship and death, the cold autumn wind of the Canadian prairie blowing through the record, shaping and influencing the mandolin, the banjo, the acoustic guitar, the violin, the National Steel. It's music with a dark, sweet edge, like it understands the pain in the world but still chooses to focus on what's good instead. "Swallow," though in its attempt to maintain rhythm and rhyme the lyrics can occasionally sound a little corny ("You got me, arrow shot me/Now come connect the dot me"), lilts along like the bird itself as it explores love's transience, while "Avila" is simple and pretty, with a delicate chorus of "O sweet peace never have you fallen/never have you fallen upon this town," sung in three-part harmony, that sense of longing lodged between the notes of a slow, aching electric guitar solo that winds its way through the song. A similar feeling is also apparent in "Glory Bound," manifested as a desire for a reprieve from life's hardships. It's not morbid, it's simply sad and honest in that uplifting way that only country and folk music can be. There is a melancholy that lies within many of the Wailin' Jennys' songs, but there's still an overwhelming sense of hope and happiness that is even stronger, and makes Firecracker a really great, uncontrived album.

Customer Reviews

In love with the Jennys

As, a huge fan of the Jenny's, I was more than happy to see their new ablum. While I love every song, Firecacker is definetly my favorite. If you are new to the Jenny's make sure to check out their first ablum, 40 days. It is equally worth the praise.

Firecracker goes off with a bang

Winnipeg’s Wailin’ Jennys have released a deeply personal set of songs on Firecracker. This new recording reaches back to honour the tradition of both the place they come from and the traditions of the female folksinger genre. There are echoes of other Winnipeg songwriters here like Heather Bishop and Nancy Reinhold formerly of the Wyrd Sisters. Yet it presents each of the Jenny’s three writer’s individual style clearly and creatively. Nicky Mehta’s direct songs of love and growth, Ruth Moody’s beautiful and delicate images sung with her country tinged soprano and newcomer Annabelle Chvostek’s complex and crafted offerings. Musically these women continue to explore as Nicky adds harmonica to her usual guitar work. Annabelle brings fiddle and mandolin to the mix and Ruth adds banjo to a couple of tracks. Even with the exit of the talented Cara Luft the Jenny’s have delivered a recording that cements their place as Canada’s finest folk vocal group.


These gals are so talented. The music is ethereal at times, always beautiful, lyrically strong and they are incredibly gifted at nailing three-part harmonies. As much as the album is a must-have for any lover of folk/singer-songwriter style music, if you can, you must absolutely see these gals live.


Formed: 2002 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Canadian folk trio the Wailin' Jennys began as a onetime-only grouping of three singer/songwriters, but musical chemistry and audience response turned them into an ongoing band. Alto Cara Luft, the daughter of professional folksingers, had played with the Lilith Fair tour in Calgary and released her own album; mezzo-soprano Nicky Mehta also had her own disc, Weather Vane; and soprano Ruth Moody, the lead singer for the roots band Scruj MacDuhk, had issued Blue Muse. But when they played together...
Full bio
Firecracker, The Wailin' Jennys
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Customer Ratings