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Way up south at the Sylvania Lodgeby Julie Druker
Photo: Riley Baugus joins Jenny and Dan Whiteley at the Sylvania Lodge
Local award-wining singer/songwriter Jenny Whiteley and her brother Dan Whiteley were joined by North Carolina's Riley Baugus onstage at the Sylvania lodge in McDonalds corners on Oct 6 for a slice of old time music with their new project called Ready, Set, Go!
The project came about after Jenny met Riley last summer at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the two had a chance to play and teach together. Jenny, who'd also been wanting to play more with her brother Dan decided to invite Riley north to join them. In her words “It just all came together and now, six months and 18 migraines later, here we are.”
With the three sharing lead vocals, Jenny on guitar, Dan on mandolin and harmonica and Riley on banjo and fiddle, they played two sets of toe tappin' old timey music that harkened back to the deep south of our southern neighbours.
Jenny and Dan performed the first three offerings of the evening, which included a new tune of Jenny's called “Kind Mirror” from her new CD “Forgive or Forget”, a gentle ballad with soulful solos on mandolin interspersed by Dan throughout. Dan was featured next on “Don't Go Down in the Mine, Dad”, and after that the duo played an old blues tune called “Stealin'”, each sounding in very fine form and together demonstrating the musical miracles possible between family members who have been singing and playing together since tothood.
Riley Baugus joined in next turning the duo into a trio and side by each on the pie wedge of a stage together the three proceeded deeper down south, first with George Jone's “Bartender's Blues” followed by Jenny singing The Halls of Fulsom from her 2004 CD Hopetown and later Lead Belly's “In the Pines”, a classic blues tune that they “blue grassed up”.
Riley was showcased solo at the beginning of the second set and performed what he called “a musical survey” from his roots in southern Appalachia where he was raised according to his online bio in the “regular Baptist tradition”.
Baugus is well known for his recent projects, which have included Willie Nelson's latest 2010 bluegrass album, and Robert Plant and Allison Krauss' Grammy award-winning album “Raising Sand”.
Baugus opened with a haunting version of Dock Boggs' “The Country Blues” and sang out the bleak lyrics loud, sad and straight bringing to mind the colder and lonelier travels of the human heart.
Next came his version of “The Cuckoo Bird” which he sang on the soundtrack of the 2003 feature film Cold Mountain, (he also made the banjo that was played in the film), which went on to win numerous awards.
Next he shared a typical a cappella church song called “The Day is Past and Gone” which he sang “just like the songs I used to hear my granny sing to me” in the “lining out tradition” where one literate singer reads and sings first and the rest of the group (usually the congregation) responds.
Mesmerizing on his banjo, Riley's voice rang strong and true with every word- each accented with that southern drawl which in itself is a kind of music.
He also spoke generously in between numbers and shared a number of anecdotes with the crowd about his life and childhood in the south along with his experience working on a Hollywood film.
Though the three had only just a number of days to rehearse before the show, as a trio they shone bright a number of times throughout the show, proving that Ready,Set, Go! just fresh off its mark is a sure winner and one you can definitely bet on.