The Wailin’ Jennys weren’t built to last – or so thought the members of the Canadian folk group.
“Nobody thought this was going to be more than one show,” vocalist Nicky Mehta says during a telephone interview from her Winnipeg, Manitoba, home. “We just thought it would be fun. The three of us have a nice vocal blend, but one thing led to another and here we still are.”
Now the folk trio is celebrating its 12th anniversary as an act. Mehta, a mezzo-soprano with a stunning voice, and soprano Ruth Moody, formed the group with Cara Luft, who left the group eight years ago. The charismatic Heather Masse rounds out the troika, which will perform Saturday at the Carolina Theatre in Durham.
“I’m really looking forward to the North Carolina show,” Mehta says. “A friend in Greensboro says it was snowing there. That sounds like paradise since it’s about 30 or 40 degrees there. It’s minus-30 here, but then again Winnipeg is one of the five coldest cities in the world.”
Why would Mehta live there? “That’s a good question,” Mehta says. “The good answer is that it has an amazing cultural scene. It’s a city where an artist can actually own a house. The cultural scene here is unparalleled in Canada. It inspires me as a musician.”
Musically, Mehta hasn’t been as prolific of late, since she’s the mother of twin 4-year old boys.
“It’s hard,” Mehta says. “Children take up a lot of your time. It’s great. I love my boys. But we used to tour constantly. We’re overdue for an album, but I have my boys and Heather had a baby. Ruth is working on a solo album. We don’t have our next album planned out yet, but it’ll happen. I’m just really enjoying the shows because it’s part-time. It’s anything but a grind.”
For their shows, the group can draw from three albums, including their latest release, 2012’s ‘Darlingford.’ The trio of albums are filled with catchy, earnest and at times poignant folk-pop.
“It’s all come about organically,” Mehta says. “When we get together, it flows. We hope to have a new album out at some point in 2015. In the interim, we’re just going to do perhaps two or three shows a month. This might be the most fun I’ve had while being with the Wailin’ Jennys.”
The group, which features a name that is a punny homage to late country star Waylon Jennings, figures to be around for a long time.
“I think that’s safe to say,” Mehta says. “The funny thing is that none of us would have never guessed that. It helps that we don’t have to be prolific. We can work on our projects. I want to work on a solo project. The freedom that we have is amazing. But we always come back to be part of the Wailin Jennys. There’s some comfort in that.”
The Jennys revel in their similarities, but their differences are what propel the band’s sound.
“We each bring something different to the table,” Mehta says. “We each bring a different background and individual sound to the Jennys. That helps. And what puts it over the top is that we feel what we bring as a collective exceeds what we bring as individuals.”