The Wailin Jennys’ Bright Morning Star is of the utmost quality, but requires a little time to take root in one’s mind. The harmonies are perfect, the dynamics are truly moving, and every track thoughtfully arranged. This being said, it is an album that must be savoured, and thus, may take multi-tasking listeners a few rounds before they find their connection to it. It is not hard to imagine that the Jennys harmonies take a bit of focused attention to achieve, and the enjoyment of Bright Morning Star requires the same.
The production quality of the album is superb. From start to finish the sound is crisp with just a touch of wonderment-adding studio enhancements. Added instrumentation is simple and appropriate—the solo in ‘Storm Comin’’ comes right in time and the horns on ‘Last Goodbye’ give the final track the stateliness it deserves.
‘Mona Louise’ will leave a lasting impression. It is a song that has all the earmarks of a song that would be gratifying using a number of arrangements. The reverb and twang of the Wailin’ Jennys version nicely complements the rest of the album, but, after listening, one may be inspired to wonder what a good pop band or tenor singer-songwriter’s interpretations of ‘Mona Louise’ would yield. This song may very well have a number of incarnations in the future.
As said earlier, Bright Morning Star is to be savored, and so the listener would do well be patient through the down-tempo middle portion of the album. The final tracks, ‘ You Are Here’ and ‘Last Goodbye’ emerge as lucid, rousing songs that give the album a sense of completion. Yet another superb effort by the Wailin’ Jennys.
Words: Paul Kellner