The Waybacks, |
Burger After Church
(Fiddlin' Cricket, 2002)
Having been raised in North Texas in the 1950s, I cut my teeth and sharpened my dance steps to the music of the masters. The mere mention of "Panther Hall" or "The Longhorn Ballroom" will conjure up memories of Friday nights sitting on the living room floor in front of a black & white TV watching Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, Flatt & Scruggs and a host of others. I still have a soft spot for bluegrass and country music that's just a part of my being.
So it does my heart good to know that there are still bands around that know what really great music is supposed to sound like. It should flow and have a direction. The lyrics should be understandable and worthy of the ears that hear them. And your toes should tap. Yep, there should most definitely be some toe-tapping involved.
Burger After Church is a healthy mix of bluegrass, jazz and swing, all with a fresh new twist performed by an extraordinary group of musicians who get it. It's difficult to pick a favorite track, practically impossible to pick a dud. "Turkish Stalemate" features twin mandolins, while "Down from Iona" has some of the best fingerstyle guitar I've heard in years. "Bright Place" is the whimsical wonderings of a sweetheart who can't seem to reconcile himself to leave the nightlife behind: "Well, I'm drinking in a place just south of town and there's all them gals around. It's funny but I don't know what to do. And that life's an evil one, they say, and I've seen a better way. But I can't help thinking 'bout things I never knew."
The biggest surprise was finding a wonderful guitar and mandolin version of Floyd Cramer's "Last Date" (I played this for my elderly mother one Sunday afternoon and she asked to hear it again). And "The Return" is a lovely knight's tale beautifully sung. With close to an hour's worth of music, you'll want to keep circling the block till it's over. Better yet, save it for a long-distance drive and have a smile on your face the whole way.
The Waybacks are James Nash (lead guitar, mandolin and vocals), Chojo Jacques (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, Humanatone and vocals), Stevie Coyle (rhythm guitar, fingerstyle guitar and vocals), Joe Kyle Jr. (standup bass and vocals) and Chuck Hamilton (drums and percussion).