A “Wailin” Monmouth U Debut, for a Folk-Roots Supergroup

Feb 17, 2018
The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now on sale for a February 17, 2018 concert by The Wailin’ Jennys, hosted inside the Pollak Theatre as part of the 2017-2018 Performing Arts Series.
Presented at 8 p.m., the concert represents a first-ever visit to the Monmouth campus for the award winning folk-roots “supergroup” that’s transcended borders in more ways than one — a very harmonious international partnership composed of three highly accomplished solo artists, in the service of one extraordinary sound.
On their own, Canadians Ruth Moody (soprano) and Nikki Mehta (mezzo), and New Yorker Heather Masse (alto), can claim a list of credits that’s almost too genre-busting to sum up. The classically trained Moody is a Juno Award nominated specialist in Celtic music, with a growing catalog of recordings to her name and a facility that runs from piano and accordion to banjo and bodhran. Fellow multi-instrumentalist Mehta is as adept at dance as she is at ukelele and drums, with her own discography of full-length albums — while Masse brings a mastery of the stand-up bass, a string of appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and a body of work that includes a celebrated collaboration with jazz keyboard legend Dick Hyman.
In other words, each of the three M’s is navigating the tricky currents of the modern music landscape quite well for herself — but when these confident and supremely skilled women cross paths, as when Moody and Mehta first performed an intimate set at a Winnipeg music store, something akin to accidental magic occurs.
More than fifteen years since that “one-off” gig — and with Masse completing the lineup in replacement of former member Annabelle Chvostek — the trio of performers who playfully christened themselves The Wailin’ Jennys (a punning tribute to country legend Waylon Jennings) are the authors of five critically acclaimed full length releases, recipients of a Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year, and claimstakers of a hard-earned touring fanbase that inspired the Toronto Star to name them “the darlings of the North American roots music arena.”
Touring behind the recently released “Fifteen,” their first album in over six years, The Wailin’ Jennys celebrate the history of their musical partnership with a self-produced set of songs that includes compositions by many of the band members’ favorite artists — an elite group that includes Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and the late Tom Petty. When the trio comes to campus for what will be their sole 2018 tour date in the tri-state area, they’ll be making themselves comfortable at one of the region’s finest mid-sized venues for acoustic music — the recently renovated Pollak Theatre, whose stage has hosted such legends as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Roseanne Cash, Arlo Guthrie, Roger McGuinn, Graham Nash, Mavis Staples, and Peter Yarrow.
 
Tickets for the February 17, 2018 appearance by The Wailin’ Jennys are priced at $39 and $49, with a Gold Circle seating option of $460, and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events — including Danú (March 1, 2018), and the return to the Monmouth campus of Roger McGuinn (April 25, 2018) — are also on sale now.