The Wailin' Jennys: Firecracker (Factor)

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The Wailin' Jennys: Firecracker (Factor)

You can have too much of a good thing: like the slew of Cuban albums which followed the success of the Buena Vista Social Club. After a while it all just got too much and you lived in fear that yet another tiny record company would discover it too had a bunch of old Cubans in its back-catalogue.

It's much the same with "that old-time music" which came to attention after O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the acclaim for Gillian Welch.

Seems now the new thing is to sound like you've spent your life in a remote valley in the Appalachians and you're a bit partial to "that old time religion" too.

Which means this album probably has a harder route than it should because these three Canadian women make exactly that kind of thing -- but beautifully. With three distinctive voices which harmonise like siblings they can be heart-grabbing, but they also write memorable songs which sound old-time but also quite contemporary (despite the banjo, dobro and fiddle accompaniment). Because each contributes their own songs to the album there is also diversity within the cohesive Jennys' sound, and an astute pop sensibility at work.

Very, very easy to like.

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