Jenny Scheinman



Jenny Scheinman is a singer, fiddle player, and songwriter. She has been on numerous Grammy-winning recordings, just made her debut at Carnegie Hall as a leader, and has been one of the top violinists in the DownBeat Critics Poll for over a decade. She grew up on a homestead in northern California in family of folk musicians, studied at Oberlin Conservatory, and has been performing since she was a teenager. She spent her early twenties in the San Francisco Bay Area, moved to Brooklyn in 1998 and is considered a leader in the Brooklyn arts renaissance.

In 2011, The Village Voice named her "the best fiddler in New York."

In 2009 Scheinman released two albums in tandem; self-titled Jenny Scheinman, her rootsy debut vocal album influenced by the country/folk/blues repertoire of her childhood, and Crossing The Field, her most extravagant instrumental album to date featuring an all-star septet plus string orchestra. Since then she has been exploring smaller instrumentations. In 2012 she released a self-titled disk with her band Mischief & Mayhem featuring Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, and she will be releasing her sophomore vocal album (tentatively entitled The Littlest Prisoner) on Sony Masterworks in early 2014 with her trio featuring Bill Frisell and Brian Blade.

Scheinman has spent much of the last five years on the road with Rodney Crowell, Bruce Cockburn and Jimmie Dale Gilmore as their “fiddlin’ violinist,” background singer, and opening act. She has also worked closely with Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Lou Reed, Robbie Fulks, Will Kimbrough and Madeleine Peyroux. Her history with Bill Frisell goes back to 1998 when they met on a recording date produced by Bill's longtime manager Lee Townsend. Since then they have made twelve studio albums and more than a dozen live recordings together.

Scheinman’s upcoming album is her most revealing. The words are powerful, cranky, dark and funny. They are love songs but the perspectives are unusual. The title track is from a pregnant inmate to her unborn child, "Sacrifice" likens the journey of marriage to the underground railway, "My Old Man" is a refiguring of an old-time murder ballad from the perspective of a battered woman, "Houston" was conceived looking out a plane window at the wreckage incurred by a hurricane, "Brother" is an appeal for a more committed love, and "Just A Child" is to a father figure and was written in a dream the night before she embarked on a long tour with Rodney Crowell. The three instrumentals (Thirteen Days, Deborah’s Waltz and Bent Nail) are little country-dances.

“Scheinman [has] a distinctive vision of American music, suffused with plainspoken beauty and fortified all at once by country, gospel and melting-pot folk, along with jazz and the blues.” - New York Times

“Scheinman's high-lonesome fiddle is a perfect fit for guitarist Bill Frisell… [it] hovers between jazz and back-porch music” - NPR Fresh Air

"Two superb albums. Crossing The Field is wide, inspired, roaming, and Jenny Scheinman is a singer-songwriter affair with a strong modern-country accent and rattling-tin-shack production." - David Fricke, Rolling Stone

"There is an emotional element to her playing that makes her music deeply satisfying." - The Wall Street Journal

"The Jenny Scheinman trio blew my mind, thoroughly and unapologetically." - No Depression