Published Jun 30, 2015Engaging, rough-hewn and warm-hearted, the Woodshed Orchestra make music that is unremittingly cheerful, even when laced with a twinge of something to the contrary. With an overall feel of a New Orleans second line band, their music is loose, enthusiastic and brimming with energy.
"The Griff," for example, features bluesy alto sax, courtesy of Karen Ng, which shouts its message with unalloyed fervour. The concise "The Basic Count," punctuated by Scott Thomson's plunger-muted trombone expressiveness, is direct and unapologetically evocative of jazz's southern origins. The same goes for "Love Letter To New Orleans"'; with leader/drummer Dave Clark's rumpty-tump snare for its heartbeat, this feel-good showstopper gets a hint of piquancy from momentary entrances and exits of minor harmony. Throughout the span of the album's nine tracks, there is some occasional group vocalizing, and this track is made more endearing by it.
Rather than ever detracting, the Woodshed Orchestra's choral imperfections convey a feeling of genuine communality and good humour; this is music made by musicians who enjoy one another's company, and listeners can hear it on every track. (Zunior)