CD Review – The Will Callers “What Else Is Left?”
What Else Is Left? is the new record from The Will Callers, the songwriting duo of Jake Murphy (vocals/guitar) and Daniel Slaton (drums/vocals), backed by Brad Rice (Whiskeytown, Son Volt) and Scrappy Jud Newcomb (Loose Diamonds, Ian McLagan). They also get some help on their first full length release from George Reiff, Bukka Allen and Scott Esbeck.
The great Ray Wylie Hubbard produces the record, which is roots rock plus, with the plus being touches of just about everything from the spectrum of Americana. These guys are young enough not to care a lick about genre and good enough to pull it all off. Here’s a link to one of the songs on the record, House of Falling Cards, which will give you a feel for what I’m talking about. Ray Wylie’s quote about the record: “Cool as Buffalo Springfield, deep as Dylan, trashy as the Stones, smart like the Beatles, fight like the Eagles, and they’re original.” You gotta love the Gold Top Grifter.
So you get a lot of records when you write about records. The records want to be written about, you see, so these people write to you asking you to write about them. But there are so many more records to write about than there is time to listen to them correctly and write about them in a meaningful way. I mean, anybody can make a record. If there were 1352 guitar pickers in Nashville back when Nashville Cats was written, there’s got to be 13,520 people making records in Austin now. I have no method for deciding what records to spend time with other than this: If the first time through the record doesn’t get my attention, it probably goes in the back seat of the car, then out of the listening loop. What Else Is Left isn’t going on the back seat any time soon. This is the good stuff, and I’m grateful to Brandon DeMaris for reaching out to me on Twitter to make sure I gave it a listen.
Trolling the internet, I came up with a video The Will Callers recorded late last year. It’ll give you a visual and some idea of what they are like live. Watching this, I kept thinking about Deadstring Brothers, another bunch of rockers I like a lot, even though there’s a hundred reasons why the comparison is inapt. Anyway, enjoy the video, and pick up a copy of the record, which will be released in late April.
Mando Lines is on Twitter @mando_lines. The Will Callers are, too @TheWillCallers.