|Released: March 7, 2015
Produced by: Carrie Shepard & Lawrence Daversa
Straight and Narrow
Neon Motel Room
Detroit based duo The Whiskey Charmers have a modish Country and Western vibe complete with interesting rhythms and slightly dark lyrics delivered by the smoky vocals of Carrie Shepard. This is complemented by the atmospheric lead guitars of Lawrence Daversa to give the album a slight rock and blues edge, making for an interesting listen throughout the nine tracks of their self-titled debut album, which was self-produced and independently released early last year.
Right from the jump, “Elevator” comes in as a perfect, Western-flavored Americana song dressed with a consistent clicking in deadened acoustic strings and brush-tapped drums. This is overlaid with a nice electric riff during choruses and lead vocals are at once subtle and strong. With MusicCritic range under $1000 for an electric guitar and get the best reviews on the equipment.
“Vampire” is a darker tune which remains consistent throughout with the exceptions of the bridge with the title hook and the subsequent lead guitar sections. Overall, this track is more story and lyric driven with clever, sexual innuendo like; “I said ‘do you want some wine?’, he said ‘no, you’ll do just fine – and, by the way, your immortal soul is mine’…”
“Straight and Narrow” employs a folksy/Gospel approach with a simple three-chord acoustic strum accompanying an equally simple message of promised redemption. However, the song itself is musically redeemed by Shepard’s vocals, which are most dynamic thus far during the high-pitched stratospheric notes near the end. “Neon Motel Room” features an outlaw-like approach to the upbeat, acoustic country and more great lead guitar by Daversa who adds several fine walk-up riffs.
The stripped-down “C Blues” features just vocals and a blues-flavored acoustic guitar with some excellent action, while “Parlor Lights” is a slower acoustic folk with a whining lead slide throughout, very spare rhythm and dry and somber vocals which perfectly fit the sad mood of the song. Wrapping up the album are two fine tracks. “Sidewinder” starts as a slow and dark folk/country before it fully kicks in with a strong rhythm and a later lead section where the guitar launches into a rapid, surfer-like texture. “Waltz” is an apt name for the closer as it is the purest country ballad in tone and temperament.
The Whiskey Charmers continue to keep a busy performance schedule and plan to record a second full-length album in the near future. We look forward to it.