In today's major label dominated world, we have a tendency to forget that singers without perfect pitch can still make damn good music and Sweet Wednesday reminds us of that. Rather than funneling boatloads of money and months of studio time into Wherever You Go, the duo (Lisa Housman and Dave Falk) gives us their music straight up, no chaser, and it seems to work for them quite well. Rooted solidly in folk, they write of experiences from west to east, from past to present, giving a little piece of themselves in each of the fourteen songs included here. This is folk in the old sense, written with the audience in mind. Inspirations vary from Grandma to San Francisco to New York City to a look at McDonald's from the other side and are presented humbly and simply.
Speaking of Grandma, Falk's step into unadulterated childhood is weirdly hilarious and animated as he rejoices over a visit from her in true childlike fashion ("Hey Jon, Jon! Grandma's here! Do you know what that means? We get to stay up late and watch movies and eat lots of ice cream and go to Brigham's!"). Not so hilarious but still pretty darn funny, he sings an apology to Lisa for dragging her to New York City in the aptly titled (Lisa, I'm Sorry I Brought You To) New York City, lamenting "Lisa, I'm sorry I brought you to New York City/I'm sorry you're having a bad time/The buildings stretch so high and the skyline's so pretty/maybe you'd have a better time of it/if you could just stop complaining." Ouch!
Housman steps out with a strange look at peoples' attitudes toward working at McDonald's and it drives home a point: That we as individuals can be far less than we think ("And I guess he thought that because I work at McDonald's I have no soul/That a body can serve a Big Mac when it's on remote control/That serving fries would rob me of the dreams I have at night/That I'm not here, that I don't feel, that I don't reach for light"). She makes her best points, however, in songs like How Can I Know?, a look at the thin line between people in any relationship, and Mid-Morning Rain which has an early Gordon Lightfoot feel thanks to tempo and feel.
If you like your folk rocky, Sweet Wednesday has that too. The Swinging Steaks make sure of that, laying out primo backing in three standout tracks: Pacific Shores, Wherever You Go and Winter Hill. Especially notable are the keyboards of Jim Gambino, although Steve Sadler's guest spot on How Can I Know? gets a big thumbs up as he overlays lap steel, dobro, guitar and bass effortlessly.
There is a lot to like here and, once again, a visit to the local venue for a little Sweet Wednesday would enhance the listening experience. Check out their website to see if they're in your area and stop by when they show. The least you will get, I am sure, is a great night at the local comedy shop with acoustic accompaniment. Then again, you might get a night well worth remembering.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles