(Woedoggie Music, 2015)
When Wylie Shipman of the Woedoggies wrote me, he stated that his band would be honored to have me review their new release. I can say, I always feel honored to introduce a new act to the (European) music lovers! So... it definitely works both ways!
Let's not waste any time and check out this independent Americana band from South Burlington, VT and their debut studio release, the 'Sorrytown' EP!
The Woedoggies BIO:
The Woedoggies have an eclectic sound firmly rooted in classic country, blues and Americana. Based in Northern Vermont the Woedoggies perform as an acoustic trio and with a full electric band. The trio consists of Vermont music veterans Peter Riley on bass and vocals (Breakaway, The X-Rays), Rudy Dauth on lead guitar and vocals (Pulse Prophets) and Wylie Shipman on rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals. With a growing catalog of originals and an extensive repertoire of classic country, blues and folk covers, the Woedoggies mix tight 3-part harmonies with expert musicianship and strong songwriting to push the limits and discover new horizons of the acoustic Americana sound.
The 'Sorrytown' EP:
The band's first studio record 'Sorrytown' reflects their wide ranging influences from bluegrass to classic country to loud, growling blues. Produced by Jared Slomoff (Mike Gordon, Phish) 'Sorrytown' captures the raw energy and dynamic range of a live Woedoggies performance.
A full year in the making the band added some of Vermont's finest musicians to their signature acoustic trio sound. The result is an electric, hard-driving alt-country-rock collection that represents the Woedoggies country roots while exploring new musical territory.
The album features four songs by Wylie, a Peter original, and a cover of Boston songwriter Jimmy Ryan's "Face Up", sung by Rudy. Featuring Russ Lawton from Soule Monde and the Trey Anastasio Band on drums, Brett Lanier on pedal steel, Caleb Elder on fiddle, and Little Leon Campos on keyboards.
Recorded at the soon-to-be-relocated Egan Media studios in Colchester, VT.
1. "Sorrytown": The EP opens with the title track, a beautiful heartfelt country ballad. Very good melody, great singing and playing, especially the pedal steel guitar stands out here: softly whimpering in the back and then getting loud where required. In the meantime, things aren't going so well in "Sorrytown", although the music is loud in the bar, the whiskey usually don't help much!
2. "Methadone For A Woman": A fast outlaw country track, played by the full band including honky tonk piano, Wylie adds great harmonica parts here. The love story sounds complicated, being addicted to a femme fatale... Although the title sounds strange at first - this is a very smart metaphor.
3. "Adios Blanquito": We go South of the border, with an excellent slow desert rock ballad! Lots of ominous atmosphere, created by the acoustic guitar and mandolin, keyboards and outstanding percussion.
4. "Crying In My Dreams": All three Woedoggies are good singers, so they take turns on lead vocals, adding to the diversity of the music. Here a lovely female chorus is brought in and Leon Campos plays some fine piano solos again. This is another sad song about a lost love, although the melody sounds rather upbeat, just like it was always done in songs by the old country stars.
5. "Face Up": The only cover on the EP, written by James C. Ryan, of course we know and love him! Ah, the fiddle comes jumping in... This is a very fast and catchy bluegrass track, with fine mandolin parts too (that was to be expected in a Jimmy Ryan song) and spot on tight harmonies. Hm, where does the love go, when the rent hasn't been paid and a certain somebody spends too much time in bar rooms?
6. "Ink Black Ocean": Already the last number, this comes closest to altcountry. Dark and haunting with beautiful choruses. I love the way the song flows and builds op.
A total of 23 minutes worth of music proves to be way too short of course! Well, there's always the repeat button.
The Woedoggies didn't make empty promises, this is some great old-school country. Honest, not too complicated, no (commercial) pop influences, just the emotions and the twang. It can be that simple and what's not to like? I don't need to make any critical remarks. I noticed they have a tasteful cover song list too, I can easily imagine myself having a memorable evening in a Vermont venue with the Woedoggies!
Wylie wrote: "Thank you for your support of the Country / Americana music community!" Thank you, Woedoggies, for releasing great music!
Written by Johanna J. Bodde - March 12th, 2015