The highly anticipated The Wailin’ Jennys will return to Goshen this Friday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m. for their third Goshen performance in Sauder Concert Hall.The Wailin’ Jennys is a Canadian folk music group with humble beginnings at a guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 2002. What started out as a small gig turned into multiple performances by popular demand. The name Wailin’ Jennys is a play off of the name Waylon Jennings, a famous American country singer.
Since the release of their first album 40 Days in 2004, the group has been twice awarded the prestigious Juno Award (think the Canadian-version of the Grammys) and their albums, Bright Morning Stars and Fifteen, have both held the number one spot on the Billboard Bluegrass charts.
The three singers, Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta and Heather Masse, are highly regarded for their soft yet hauntingly unique vocal blend. Apart from singing, the three also provide their own instrumental accompaniment. It’s not uncommon to see Masse plucking her upright bass or Moody strumming a banjo while simultaneously laying down flawless vocals.
It’s also no secret that Goshen College’s world-class Sauder Concert Hall attracts many big names from all over the world. Goshenites can boast of visits from famous acts such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bobby McFerrin, and A Prairie Home Companion. What sets the Wailin’ Jennys apart from the other groups, is that the trio keeps coming back by popular demand.
Goshen College has a love for singing and 4-part harmony – or 3-part harmony if you’re a Jenny – and perhaps has a soft spot for the nostalgic twang of bluegrass music. Their song “One Voice”, written by Ruth Moody, will even be included in the new Mennonite hymnal, Voices Together, which will be released in the fall of 2020.
Hannah Miller ‘19 has been a Wailin’ Jennys fan since elementary school. Her parents used to play their music in the background when she was young, and she still listens to them today.
“The Wailin’ Jennys never fail to nail three-part harmonies with beautiful voices that blend so well,” Miller said. “Their bluegrass and folk-like intonations are crisp, invigorating, and even haunting at times.”
Miller was even able to get a picture with them when they last performed in Goshen in 2017. She reflected fondly on the meet-and-greet and said, “It was an actual dream come true.”
The Wailin’ Jennys have shown their appreciation for the community of Goshen in turn. During their concert in 2017, the group requested that the audience sing hymn 606, Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow, colloquially called the “Mennonite national anthem”.
Everyone in the crowd proudly stood up and sang the beloved hymn; many sang it from memory. Time will tell if they ask for an encore during Friday’s performance. Those attending the concert should make sure they’re vocally warmed-up beforehand if they wish to impress.
A full house is expected, as tickets to the concert in Sauder Hall are expected to sell out. After their performance, The Wailin’ Jennys will continue on to Chicago, IL and perform at The Patio Theater on Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m. before circling back down toward the southeast.