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THE WESTERN FLYERS —WILD BLUE YONDER (Versa Tone - Self-Released)

 

www.thewesternflyers.com

 

 

Steeped in Texas swing, hot jazz, cowboy songs and old time fiddle tunes The Western Flyers; Joey McKenzie (archtop guitar, vocals), Katie Glassman (fiddle, vocals) and Gavin Kelso (upright bass, harmony vocals) are a dream trio for all those into western swing, and people generally drawn and intrigued by a music that’s both complex, dripping in nostalgia and dance friendly.

 

Wild Blue Yonder has the trio pay homage to the music and writers of some of the finest songs of the idiom, both pre and post war. It makes for a most interesting listen, and when everything falls into place a little magic can be detected in the air. As champion fiddler Glassman; aided by McKenzie’s ace guitar (he started out on fiddle, and went on to win over 100 competitions and awards) and rhythmic bass of Kelso work up terrific versions of instrumentals Texas Fiddle Medley (“Smith’s Reel”, “Leather Britches” and “Jack Of Diamonds”) and a darting, upright bass and rhythm driven “Carroll County Blues” and others too.  

 

 

Peppered with wondrous playing, Wild Blue Yonder has many occasions where the members get to perform stellar breaks, the work of Glassman on such tracks as “Old Fashioned Love” and, with McKenzie on lead vocals Mel Tillis old chestnut also has some of the sweetest fiddle one could imagine or dare ask for decorate it. Classy work by Glassman doesn’t stop here for she is likewise the focus of attention on “The Wild Dog” (instrumental), and with her elegant playing leading the unit into “Tennessee Waltz” she performs a beautifully relaxed lead vocal (warmed in tight harmony vocals) more highs are experienced. ‘Never No More” is another where Glassman’s presence is masterful, vocally and on fiddle as the song is given a chugging, Texas swing cum blues rendition.  

 

Ever busy and awash in subtle nuances the trio are a delight from beginning to end. They dust down the old standards in stellar fashion as McKenzie leads the unit out of the traps with “You’re From Texas” (Cindy Walker) followed by a masterful version of “Along The Navajo Trail”. Quirky little number “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” with McKenzie on lead vocals is performed with great aplomb.                                                                                            

Also of note is the not to be denied near frenetic paced version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” (the upright bass solo from Kelso is not to be missed). Western swing doesn't come much better; be sure to watch out for them if they are ever down your way.   

 

                                                                Maurice Hope 

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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
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32 pts.
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Black Hen Music
LM
 
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32 pts.
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Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
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Wild Wild Wild
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GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
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28 pts.
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PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
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MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
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Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
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TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
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Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
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Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
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MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
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Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
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20 pts.
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Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
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Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
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