Don Chaffer & Waterdeep,
Whole 'Nother Deal
(Hey Ruth, 2002)

The book that accompanies Whole 'Nuther Deal has an introduction by Don Chaffer explaining how the members of this folk-rock group came together, many meeting for the first time, in a classroom in Lawrence, Kansas, on a Friday in May and finished recording this CD by the following Tuesday. He explains that it was the most fun thing he had ever done and describes it as a different type of recording adventure -- "a whole 'nuther deal." Obviously, this is where he came up with the title.

Chaffer describes this informal recording session like an informal jam session. That's not a bad thing. Many of us enjoy informal jam sessions as much as, or more than, formal performances. Those jam sessions are where the true colors of the musicians shine through. However, this collection sounds like anything but an informal jam session. It is polished and meticulously layered.

I was hooked by the first selection, "At Least I Got a Car." It had me on my feet dancing, and halfway through the song I was humming along. It is a beautiful piece. Chaffer follows it with a slow, romantic number that beckons you to snuggle up to a loved one and slow dance around your living room. The third song speeds things back up to a moderate beat and adds some rhythm changeups and guitar slides, making it ideal for dancing. And so this collection goes, offering the listener many different styles, but only one level of quality -- superb!

The percussion lays a strong backbone for the other instruments in each selection. This band makes extensive use of the cymbals. The guitar work is outstanding and the layering is fascinating. The background vocals are of superior quality and rank among the very best on the market today. Like the cymbals, this band makes heavy use of the background vocals to offer an intricately woven composition with a full sound.

The members of Waterdeep for this recording are Don Chaffer (guitars, vocals), Lori Chaffer (guitar, vocals), Nathan Copeland (bass), Jay Pfeifer (keyboards), Brandon Graves (drums, percussion), Christina Graves (keyboards, vocals), UJ Pesonen (guitar), John Flynn (guitar) Will Hunt (drums, percussion) Luke Sullivant (guitar), Mike Crawford (guitar), Jill Phillips (background vocals), Matthew Perryman Jones (background vocals) and Travis Brockway (bass).

This collection struck me as the ideal CD for a large gathering. There is something to appeal to almost anyone and all the pieces are great for dancing. It is an upbeat CD that will lift your spirits and make your feet want to move.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 28 August 2004

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