The Western Swing Authority Now Playing
Published Feb 03, 2015A sleep-inducing song is often considered a dull failure, but "Swingtime Lullaby" is so soothing and gentle that it's sure to illicit sweet dreams, rather than bored snores. This doting bluegrass ballad is one of the closing numbers on Now Playing, the new LP from Waterloo hoedown troop the Western Swing Authority. Part of the tune's success is due to its pillowy melody, the rest to its restlessly inventive lyrical imagery, with lines like, "The warmth of the music will tuck you in / Like a blanket of rhythm pulled up to your chin."
Those lyrics are sung by frontwoman Stacey Lee Guse and fiddler/singer Shane Guse. They revel in gleefully clever wordplay on album highlight "One of Us is Lying," trading barbs about "overrated" honesty before Stacey delivers the knockout couplet: "Is this love we're making, baby? / Or is it only make believe? / Tomorrow my heart might be breakin'/ But tonight I'm glad you're lyin' with me." Opening track "Sweet Harriet" also features Stacey's neat phrasing about a "preacher's daughter" that "sips on holy water." And on midway tune "Miss Molly," Shane doles out lines about a lady's "satin" lips that "taste like gingerbread."
But despite the singers' jovial delivery, Now Playing's sweetest voices come courtesy of fiddle player Dan Howlett (that's right, WSA has two fiddle-equipped fellows) and pedal steel operator Ed Ringwald (a.k.a. Pee Wee Charles). "Bapadoodle," one of the closing tracks, is an instrumental on which Stacey and Shane sit out, leaving the powerhouse band (which also includes bassist Matthew Lima, drummer Jimmy Boudreau and guitarist Paul Chapman) to unleash solos and jams that are rowdier than a barroom brawl. As fantastic as the Guses' vocals are, "Bapadoodle" will make you wish the singers ceded more for their band's solos. (eOne)