One time we left on a tour bus from Winnipeg and we all got on the bus with the most ridiculous amount of stuff. Rice cookers and blenders and free weights and exercise bikes...okay not the bikes.
—Winnipeg singer songwriter and Wailin' Jenny Ruth Moody
At any given time around North America, on a highway somewhere, there's a
band traveling in a van to their next gig. Winnipeg's Wailin' Jennys
often ply great distances on the roads of North America. It takes two
vans to carry The Jennys, the gear, and some very precious cargo--band
member Nicky Mehta's twin boys.
The Wailin' Jennys just celebrated 10 years as a
band. Clocking in the hours on the road has paid off with a large and loyal fan base and a Juno Award Nomination for their CD Bright Morning Stars for Best Roots and Traditional Album of the Year.
Their first album 40 Days won that Juno category in 2005.
We asked Wailin' Jenny Ruth Moody to share some road stories.
Who gets the front seat and how do you decide?
Whoever is awake enough to navigate. We rotate this kind of thing pretty naturally.
To ask or not to ask for directions?
We have GPSs (Emily in Van #1 and Karen in Van #2) so it's rare that we need to - unless the girls have been to the bar the night before and get us completely lost. At that point, we turn to our iPhones. If that fails, it's my brother's spidey sense. On principle we are certainly not opposed to asking for directions. We used to do it at least once a day before we had a GPS.
What's your favourite road food?
Road salad (Ruth Moody)
Everyone's different. We all buy a lot of groceries to try and stay healthy. Our days are sometimes planned around stopping at a natural food store or co-op. Heather and I make a lot of weird salads and soups in the van.
We save all our rider food until things start to rot in bags on the floor. In Wisconsin there will always be a couple of bags of cheese curds going around - Heather's fave. Nicky loves poutine
- so when are somewhere where we can get it - we get it a lot. I have a bit of a weakness for those Haagen Dazs ice cream bars that you can get at truck stops...they are kind of a comfort food for me.
What's your luggage limit?
Heather Masse (Nicky Mehta)
Whatever the airline limits us to. And even then we are constantly developing strategies for how to hide extra weight, and get past security with 5 carry-ons (okay - that's just me).
We travel with about a dozen instruments between us, so we have a ton of stuff to begin with. And then of course Nicky and Grant now travel with twice as much stuff for their twin boys. So, it is not a travel-light situation, to say the least.
One time we left on a tour bus from Winnipeg and we all got on the bus with the most ridiculous amount of stuff. Rice cookers and blenders and free weights and exercise bikes...okay not the bikes. Top three songs/bands that get played in the van?
Hmm...hard question to answer. "All the Single Ladies" got a LOT of airplay, back whenever that was. About a year and a half ago I was obsessed with this Gregory Alan Isakov tune called "That Moon Song."
I couldn't stop listening to it and got everyone else obsessed with it too. This past summer my brother put on Jagit Singh
a lot whenever he felt like we all needed to chill out. Laura Marling, Greg Brown, Gillian Welch, and KD Lang have all had strong presences in the last year too. What's one thing you can't live without on the road?
My tea thermos. Well actually my computer, but maybe that doesn't count. What's the best tour van outfit?
Sweats! All the way, we dress for success.
What's your choice of van?
We've never had our own van. We've always rented, which is kind of sad. If we had our own van we'd do it up something sweet. I'd want to see a lot of sheepskin, personally.
Adam Dobres & Ruth Moody packing the van
has been on a solo tour since October and finally has a break in March. She's also a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition
for her song "Storm Coming" from the Wailin' Jennys album Bright Morning Star
s, plus a semi-finalist in the Folk/Singer Songwriter Category for "Cold Outside", from her last solo CD The Garden
You can hear Ruth Moody in concert on SCENE on air Saturday, March 10 at 5:05 p.m.