Jenny Shineman: Fiddlin’ About


Jenny Shineman is a brave woman, opening for a legend. And not just any legend. Bruce Cockburn. Not only does she play in his band, but she pulled double duty by playing a 30 minute opening set. I never seen someone attack the fiddle as much as she does. Think of heavy metal hard rocker. That is how played the fiddle. To start with…

After a couple of instrumental pieces of fiddle shredding, she put the fiddle on its side and plucked it like a guitar. It was very interesting sound. A plucked fiddle produces a much more hollow and less twangy than a guitar string might. She also began to sing. While I may not have been a fan of the instrumental pieces, she has a decent voice. But her greatest attribute is writing. My favourite line of the night was “they say the rednecks hate the hippies, but these days it’s hard to tell who’s who”. Not only did it get a hearty laugh from the audience, it is a mostly true statement. Her humour, wit and songwriting skills shone, even if she isn’t the most skilled technician.

She is a story teller through. Her most poignant and emotional song of the night was one she described as an epic dream. Rather, it came to her in a dream and it is quite epic in length. Bruce Cockburn also loves it when Shineman plays the song. It weaves like a dream, going through a multitude of emotions sounds, and verses. It is a free flow of time, a “river of Dreams”, or a peaceful hike through Lynn Valley Canyon. It definitely got the biggest round of applause of the night. While Shineman showed off her versatility during Cockburn’s set, her opening 30 minutes nicely set the mood for an icon (no easy feat) and allowed to the audience to get comfortable. I hope to see more of her in the future.

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