The Woodshedders – Catch That Yardbird

“Old time music is genuine,” sing The Woodshedders on the closing tune of the groups’ first major record release, Catch That Yardbird. That sentiment couldn’t be truer for this talented band of guys and gals; genuine and mighty fine, the hot-club/gypsy-jazz sound popularized by Django Reinhardt in the 1930s and ’40s is alive and swell in their music.

All but one of the 11 tracks are original compositions and four of these are instrumentals, ranging from the waltzing “Valse a Vandalia” to the aptly titled “Ginseng Swing.” The string-band elements of virtuosic guitars, fiddle and mandolin provide rich, acoustic foundation, while bass, drums and a homemade rhythmic contraption called the skiffle-trap set the shuffle into motion. Overlying most of the songs are keenly penned vocals sung by guitarist Dwayne Brooke and harmonized by standout songbirds Amiee Curl and Morgan Morrison, who credit the American-born Boswell Sisters as strong influences. “Watermaid” weaves a moody allure, while the title track proves a raucous barnyard romp that chronicles the rags-to-riches tale of two friends, Chicken and Vine, and unfolds with utter hilarity like a synthesis of Tom & Jerry and The Beverly Hillbillies.

The fun is contagious in the music of The Woodshedders. Catch That Yardbird is both a reverent tribute to bygone greats of radio’s Golden Age and a refreshing resurrection, drawing new inspiration from those classic styles that never really go out of style.

-Shannon Holliday