Swap Meet. Trailer Hitch.
Self-released, 2015. Swap Meet: https://www.facebook.com/swapmeetmusic/
This six-song EP is a most welcome holiday season debut. The Northeast Ohio Americana / country / gypsy jazz group has been making the local rounds lately, from Wilbert’s in Cleveland, to the Lime Tree in Warren, to the Regency Wine Store in Akron. It’s tough work for folks who have day jobs, but they seem to be managing well. They’re certainly a talented and skilled group with a different sound--multiple guitars, two women vocalists and four-part harmony, percussion delivered via rub board and washboard--with a mix of styles that fit together nicely.
“Gypsy Desire” starts off the album, with a sound reminiscent of an old radio broadcast, Michelle Reyna’s deliberately distorted vocals providing a 1930s nightclub atmosphere, leading to vocals by the others. They quickly switch to country music with a spiritual flavor with “Waters Blue,” with really sweet guitar work here (and that extends to all the other tracks), provided by the combination of Peter Nario-Redmond and Stuart Abrams. “Drunk This Morning Again” takes us in the other direction, with some surprisingly raw lyrics about drinking and sex (I don’t see one of those parental warnings on the CD). A Doobie Brothers riff begins the bluesy “Moon Beams Fall,” with sexy vocals by Kari Rutushin and great guitar solos. Back to country on “A Broken Heart Gets No Relief,” which despite its title, is quite a lot of fun with its great harmony vocals. They finish up with a rouser, “What’s So Good About Being Happy,” where the title refrain is shouted, and makes one wonder about irony. They seems to be having too much of a good time.
In all, a fine batch of songs sung and played with great enthusiasm and comraderie. I enjoyed every track, and recommend the band to anyone who likes Americana music. They’re having a CD release party somewhere in Cleveland Heights on January 12th. Check their Facebook page for updates.
Personnel: Kari Rutushin (vocals, rub board, flute, ukulele), Michelle Reyna (vocals, washboard), Hoseff Garcia (stand up bass), Stuart Abrams (lead guitar), Walter Genutis (vocals), Peter Nario-Redmond (vocals, guitar). All songs by Peter Nario-Redmond.
Tracks: Gypsy Desire, Waters Blue, Drunk This Morning Again, Moon Beams Fall, A Broken Heart Gets No Relief, What’s So Good About Being Happy.
[Full Disclosure: The reviewer is a colleague of one of the singers and an employee of the same college. But if I couldn’t be honest about the review I wouldn’t have done it.]
The Grand Wazoo