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Harmonious Wail
Nonchalant

I have tremendous respect for musicians who take an idea and introduce it politely to a seemingly unrelated one. It's that inherent contradiction that makes the music of Harmonious Wail so interesting, and the design of their newest album, Nonchalant, so intriguing.

Harmonious Wail fashions itself a "gypsy swing" band. Their sound is a subtle blend of bluegrass and jazz, given substance with sly female vocals backed by mandolin, bass and guitar. The swinging tracks jump and the haunting acoustic melodies call forth something vaguely eastern European. But it's just great musicianship—these guys are from New England. The standards they play are the poetry of masters: Django Reinhardt, Jethro Burns, Stochelo Rosenberg, Fapy Lafertin, and Robin Nolan.

Lead vocalist Maggie Delaney-Potthoff is superb, presenting herself smoothly on selections such as "Perhaps" and "Cou Cou." Her sensuous voice is especially well-evidenced on the track "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." Tom Waselchuk and John Mesoloras provide a detailed acoustical web for Maggie to spin through, but they really shine when the focus is on the instruments themselves, such as on "Minor Swing " or "Armondo's Rhumba."

The material is polished and original in its revelation of songs that might be touted as standards, viewed here with a unique synergy of styles. This album is certainly not the province of new material, but it lives on the corner of original ideas and creative interpretations.

—Frankie Hagan



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Harmonious Wail—Nonchalant
Frank Lamphere—Ain't Love a Kick
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Lee Press-On & The Nails—El Bando en Fuego!
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