Waydown Wailers – State Of The Union
When I first began to hear the name Waydown Wailers I imagined a sound somewhat akin to Waylon Jennings. After listening a few sample cuts on the internet, I had them pigeon holed as a “Southern Rock” band. Now that I’ve gotten my paws on their CD, “State of The Union”, simple comparisons fail to embrace what this Northern New York group is all about.
Many influences got into making up the Wailers’ sound, and their various strains combine to form a unique finished product. There’s elements of Blues, British Invasion, Southern Rock, even Bluegrass and Country, pulled together with a driving Rock n’ Roll back line. It all adds up to a superb offering, combining thoughtful lyrics, vehement vocals, with tight and delightful instrumental parts.
Released on Woodstock Records, State of The Union is a well-crafted album; one that you won’t be able to play just once. The eight songs included are full and beefy with the shortest one being just over four minutes and half of the exceeding the five minute mark, but their length makes sense… not just fluff or repetitive needless jamming. The Waydown Wailers have something to say, lyrically and musically, and they will not be rushed or cut short.
The opening cut, No Mercy, with its “Shave and a haircut, two bits” riff would have fit in nicely on Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming. Title song State Of The Union follows, delivering a straightforward indictment of American politics and politicians:
“Where did those bastards go who took away our pride
I’d like to see them now and I would take them for a ride
I’d go down Main Street USA and I would say
Look what you’ve done to us, man, you took it all away
Waydown Wailers know…. Waydown Wailers woe
Waydown Wailers know…. The State of the Union.
The prettiest song on the CD, to my ears, is the third one; Woman Tonight. It features a sweet intro with Christian Parker’s B-bender Telecaster. The song reminds me of Southern Rocker Blackfoot’s best recordings. The band rocks with country twinge on The Man, driven by Dave Parker’s spirited mandolin chops. Professor Louie’s keyboards ad texture throughout the recording.
And so it goes through whole CD: tight rhythms, cliff hanging changes in timing, well-crafted lyrics and smoothly delivered vocals. It’s all dance- able music, at the very least it will have you tapping your toes or slapping out a beat on your steering wheel. Money Grabbers is fairly virulent rant against greed; ex-girlfriends and corporate thieves are lumped together as the song slows down midway to a slow Blues. My Girl closes out the CD. Call it Classic Rock, call it Roots music, call it whatever you chose, State Of The Union is a fine work by a talented band.
1. No Mercy (5:29)
2. State Of The Union (5:42)
3. Women Tonight (5:05)
4. The Man (4:50)
5. One By One (5:07)
6. Online Love (4:35)
7. Money Grabbers (4:22)
8. My Girl (4:11)