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Soulful Wailin’

Last weekend was chaos, but so worth it. A difficult presbytery meeting was followed by a mad dash up to Stoughton, Wisconsin, to hear the Wailin’ Jennys in concert. The Jennys are three women, Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody, and Heather Masse, who sing folk tunes in close, ethereal harmony. (You can find out more here.)  They’re frequent guests on Prairie Home Companion, which is where I first heard them – and then immediately rushed to iTunes to download their music.

I had never seen them in concert before. I’m so glad we went. Their singing was a model of spiritual practice. They focused completely on the music, pouring their whole souls in the harmony. They listened to each other – clearly – blending so seamlessly that they sounded both like one single voice and like a thousand voices, all at the same time. Pure, selfless focus, pure beauty, pure art.

I have no idea if the Jennys are religious, conventionally or otherwise. But if those of us who are religious prayed with even half the Jennys’ focus and soul, the church would be transformed, and us with it.

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