Jeni Lee Richey
the confidence to give singing a chance, performing in the country duo Bone Orchard Revival.
Flash forward to 2009: Beldin returns to Michigan and posts an ad for a lead singer. Richey responds, and you've got the conception of Jeni Lee Richey and the Great Tribulation, plus a pretty good story. Drummer Cory Snavely and bass guitarist Tom McCartan complete the band at the moment, though they've previously had a pedal steel player and hope to again.
The band describes itself as both country and electro-acoustic, and that's accurate. Richey mostly sings in a beautiful sleepy voice, reminiscent of Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, and plays acoustic guitar. At times the musicians overwhelm her voice--though it remains audible, many of the words are lost. That's not to say she's incapable of singing loudly, but her soft, sultry, almost longing vocals do seem to fit the mood of the music perfectly. Beldin sits--yes, sits--slightly behind Richey to her left and adds the electro to her acoustic, while Snavely and McCartan play farther behind Richey. When I saw them, Ryan Racine, who headlines a band of his own, sat in on accordion to make up for the absent pedal steel--and while it was just a temporary solution, it did add a really intriguing element to the band.