Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Unwieldies - No Secrets Here

It's no secret that the Unwieldies are one of my fave local bands and one of the best acoustic acts around right now. With particularly strong songwriting and superior playing (Danielle - vocals/guitar, Rob - stand-up bass/vocals, Jack - violin and newest member Richard on dobro and guitar), the group presents torch songs for the modern day, along with film-noir tales, sagas of relationships good'n'bad and even, on occasion, some (oh, that dreaded word!) whimsy!

On this, their latest CD (release party May 12th at the Huntridge Tavern!), they continue where they left off with Always the Optimist and Let's Grow Old and Strange Together, with their own style of singer/songwriter tunes. Opening with Jack's gypsy-like violin, "Rock Me to Slumber" swings'n'sways and highlights Danielle's sweet vibrato, augmented by Richard's dobro accents. The interaction between Jack's emotional violin lines and Danielle's melodies works beautifully in the slower "True Love Can't Wait" and Rob's voice comes front'n'center in the rhythmic "Mothers Eat Their Young", that includes Dani's harmonizing and Jason Edwards adding some fine piano work. Strong melodies drive "Haves and Have Nots" and Dani's range and the group's dynamics propel "Rolling Round in Weeds".

"No Way, No How" is basically an Unwieldies original take on the old trad number "Mama Don't Allow" with Rob and Dani trading verses, and then they actually cover U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Not being a U2 fan, even the Unwieldies don't really salvage this over-played tune for me - sorry, guys - I prefer to hear your originals! More splendid piano in "Ready or Not", Rob is back on lead vox for the swaying "The Best Part" (which sounds like an honest-to-gawd love song, although, once again, I wish that lyrics were included) before concluding the proceedings with Dani'n'Jack again intertwining melodies in "Bodies of Water".

The Unwieldies really do make their own sounds, between Dani'n'Rob's very different but complimentary voices and the communication between the guitar, dobro, stand-up and violin, all working together, never over-stepping their bounds, but always clever and melodic. Another outstanding release by this talented team!