Fourth Coast Entertainment -

By John Berbrich
FCE Contributing Writer 

Waydown Wailers

CD Review Empty Promises

 

Last updated 5/2/2016 at 3:23pm

Waydown Wailers

With the release of their latest CD, Empty Promises, I'd have to say that The Waydown Wailers pretty much have everything going right. They play blues, rock, and swamp-rock with a whiff of country. But before I go into all this, let's drift back in time.

I own three Waydown Wailer recordings. The first is from 2011, recorded live at the Childstock Music Festival. This EP consists of four songs, in all of which The Band gets into a great blues-rock groove. Despite being a live performance, it's a clear recording with clearly expert instrumentation. The first full CD, State of the Union, from 2013, was recorded at Subcat Studios in Syracuse. For this they took the four songs from the Childstock recording, rerecorded them in the studio, added four new songs, and filled out their sound with a variety of keyboards played by the mysterious Professor Louie and backing vocals by the equally mysterious Miss Marie.

Now we have Empty Promises, recorded at Subcat at the end of 2015. Same band, same energetic sound that is somehow rough and smooth at the same time, same mysterious Professor Louie and Miss Marie helping out, big time. The Band lines up like this: a solid foundation is laid down by Mike Scriminger on straight-ahead drums and Connor Pelkey on dependable bass and backing vocals; Christian Parker plays lead and rhythm guitar; Dave Parker also plays lead and rhythm guitar, as well as mandolin-and he's the singer. One of my favorite things about the Wailers is Parker's voice. The guy can sing tunefully, almost sweetly at times, and he can growl with the nastiest blues-master. Plus he writes all the lyrics, except on "Still Water" (with a hint of country yodel), on which he shares credit with his brother Christian.

Waydown Wailers "Empty Promises"

There's a lot to like on this new CD, starting with the catchy first song, "Don't Let Life Pass You By," which basically exhorts you to get out there and enjoy yourself, do those things you want to do while you can. "No Time to Waste" dispenses similar timely advice juxtaposed with moonlight-cool swampy guitar. The earworm "Jealousy" really kicks it with its opening chunka-chunka guitar right on through to the furious organ-cum-guitar coda. My other favorite is "Whiskey & Cornbread," a rocking ode to the wonders of whiskey: "Whiskey is my long-lost friend. I'll drink my whiskey right to the end," gives you the story, sung with verve accompanied by jangly piano and staggering good-time guitar. A real bonus is the addition of the classic "Susie Q," written by Dale Hawkins and popularized in the late 60s by Creedence Clearwater Revival. The Wailers do a fine job with this one, generating more Southern swampy atmosphere.

With this recording The Band achieves a full and mature sound, satisfying and exciting to hear. With its no-nonsense drums, solid bass, complementary guitars, & refreshing vocals, Empty Promises has ranked high on several national charts. For details on purchasing a copy of for further information, check out the website @ waydownwailers.com.

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