Album Review: The Wailin’ Jennys – Fifteen

It’s been a fair while to wait for a new record by Canadian based all female trio The Wailin’ Jennys. Seven years to be exact, and for this new offering made up of covers of some of the bands favourite songs, they strike the right balance of familiarity and uniqueness in both their selections and arrangements.

Of course, the incredible three part harmony vocals that went so far to carving their reputation are in evidence here, with some songs making the most of this by being performed completely a cappella, the rest still allowing the voices to take centre stage with minimal accompaniment. It’s the sparseness of the recording that really works in giving the sound an intimacy, as if they were performing it in someone’s front room, or completely unamplified in a small venue or café somewhere.

Tracks that stand out include ‘Love Me Like A Rock’, a Paul Simon number originally from his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon – the gospel sound on the original remains firmly intact here even though the number is sung with just some foot stopping and clapping as percussive accompaniment.

Also Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers’ gets a decent airing here. Banjo and fiddle accompaniment is perfect for the vocals to glide across.

This is a grower of a record. First listen is pleasant, if unspectacular – nothing offends yet nothing instantly stands out. Give it three or four listens however and like all well put together pieces, the songs start to come in to their own – and you get a very rewarding album that will again will do the band very well indeed. 

Review by Phil Daniels

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