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Album Review

Canadian folkies the Wailin' Jennys aren't opposed to throwing down the occasional sea shanty or English drinking song. Multi-talented singer/songwriters Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta, and Cara Luft — the latter left the group soon after the album's release and was replaced by Annabelle Chvostek — formed the group in 2002 after sharing the stage as soloists at an in-store in a local record shop, and their intoxicating blend of country, Celtic, and folk has cast a spell on not only the Great White North, but much of the U.S. as well. Like Gillian Welch or Alison Krauss, they can make new songs feel traditional ("Arlington") and old songs sound brand new ("The Parting Glass"). Their perfectly rendered harmonies swoop into choruses like a murder of crows, supplying involuntary goose bumps to even the most hardened skeptic. 40 Days is full of sparse arrangements and top-notch songwriting from all three members. Other highlights include a rousing version of the seafaring tale "Saucy Sailor" — made famous by British folk-rock pioneers Steeleye Span — Moody's beautiful title track, and Luft's rollicking (an obvious show opener) "Come All You Sailors." Fans of the Dixie Chicks, June Tabor, and even Heart will find much to love here. A most infectious first record, and highly recommended.

Customer Reviews

A superb first album

I went on a business trip to Calgary two years ago and taking an afternoon off work, I happened to end up at the river where the video for Beautiful Dawn was being shot. I'd never heard of the band at the time but was completely sold on the one track. This is without a doubt the best debut album I've heard anywhere. So many styles, all played quite brilliantly. From "Saucy Sailor" (made famous by Steeleye Span, but with a refreshignly different arrangement), through the rocky "Untitled" to the haunting "The Parting Glass", I can't remember the last album I bought that I like every track on. Buy this, you won't regret it.

Deserves greater critical acclaim

Thanks to Bob Harris I've been a fan of the Jenny's for a while. Seen them live in small UK venues. Magical! But I had 'overlooked' their debut album and went straight to Firecracker. OK, One Voice, Arlington and The Parting Glass were on my Playlists, but it took awhile to buy 40 Days in total. Ten Mile Stilts is a current favourite.
The quality is consistent throughout. Great voices, harmonies. Drift off into a heavenly sound, and tell your friends!!


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...
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Customer Ratings