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.
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 musicianshipthese 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.
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
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.