On the road to Aeolian Hall, Ruth Moody is just putting the name of her solo tour’s band out there.
“They’re called my ‘Man Boys,” the Winnipeg singer-songwriter and Wailin’ Jennys’ soprano of her road warriors. Joining Moody at Aeolian Hall on Saturday are her brother Richard Moody (violin, viola, vocals), guitarist Justin Haynes and Orchestra London double bassist Joe Phillips.
The Man Boys? The Mann Buoys? The Manboyz? How does that go?
“I’ve never spelled it out, to be honest,” Moody says with a laugh. “It’s a fairly new thing – I’ll let you decide,” she says.
Multi-instrumentalist Moody and her Man Boys – that’s what it is going to say here – are touring to support her debut solo album The Garden (U.S. label Red House Records). The Garden has its own impressive guest list, including Canadian guitar aces Luke Doucet and Kevin Breit and Toronto-tied singer-songwriter Oh Susanna.
Still, Saturday’s lineup is impressive, too. In addition to his classical career, Phillips has played on Juno-nominated albums by The Wailin’ Jennys and fiddle ace Pierre Schryer. He’s worked with everyone from blues star Rita Chiarelli to ex-Londoner Andrew Downing’s chamber-jazz group Arts & Letters.
Toronto guitar and keyboard player Haynes can also bring the ukulele and other colours to the group.
The Moody siblings both sing on the tour and friends tell Ruth Moody they hear the brother and sister “as one.”
Richard Moody is heard on The Garden. He has also played with such roots acts as The Bills and The Wyrd Sisters.
The singer-songwriter is aware of their differences, but recognizes the deep family tie.
“From an outside perspective, we are very in tune with each other,” she says.
“We don’t have to explain things very much. That’s one thing I’ve noticed. I don’t have to explain what I mean.”
On Saturday, Richard Moody and Phillips will often be “doing a lot of beautiful lush bowing,” she says. Haynes will offer contemporary textures to go with her banjo and other instruments.
“Then you have this more classical and traditional sound coming from Joe and Richard. So it’s a really, really cool amalgamation of things,” Moody says.
– JAMES REANEY,