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Jenny Scheinman: The Right Amount Of 'Mayhem'

Jenny Scheinman, far right, with her Mischief & Mayhem quartet. Left to right: drummer Jim Black, bassist Todd Sickafoose, guitarist Nels Cline.
Michael Gross
Jenny Scheinman, far right, with her Mischief & Mayhem quartet. Left to right: drummer Jim Black, bassist Todd Sickafoose, guitarist Nels Cline.

You may not know violinist Jenny Scheinman by name, but she's all over the place. She's backed Norah Jones, Rodney Crowell and Lucinda Williams, and written and performed string arrangements for Lou Reed and Metallica. The Village Voice called her Best Fiddler of 2011, and she was named the No. 1 Rising Star Violinist in DownBeat Magazine's critics poll.

Scheinman is also a composer — she wrote all the pieces on her upcoming album, Mischief & Mayhem. That's also the name of Scheinman's current backing ensemble, which includes bass player Todd Sickafoose, drummer Jim Black and guitarist Nels Cline (on loan from Wilco).

"The musicians in the band, and myself as a performer, love the risks of the unpredictable and the feeling of jumping off cliffs musically," Scheinman says. "The feeling of bonding as a band through taking risks together and hearing new sounds that we can make together — it's sort of a natural part of our musical personalities."

Here, Scheinman speaks with NPR's Rachel Martin about the new album, growing up without electricity and making music with just the right amount of mayhem.

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