New Music Review: Whiskey Before Noon by The County Well
Track and Album Review / Synopsis by Joseph Timmons: IndiePulse Music Magazine
Whiskey Before Noon, the new Americana – Country Single by The County Well comes from the band’s debut album, Future Country released on Floating Records. This exciting track featuring an all-star lineup including the talents of Michael Blumenstein from Bread and Circus on guitar, Alyssa Joy Claffey on violin, Gary Carlson from Dewey, Pickett and Howe on bass and Graham Guest from Moses Guest on vocals and guitar.
THE COUNTY WELL is a genuinely unique blend of voices, instruments, and styles. At its core is a sort of “southern-ness” that ranges geographically from Tennessee, down to New Orleans, west through Texas, along the Mexican border, and into Southern California. This southern-ness is evoked by dobro, pedal steel, slide guitar, flute, trombone, nylon string guitar picked in both Bluegrass and Spanish styles, and piano and organ.
Whiskey Before Noon is an easy going, laid back track, rich in music creativity and has a wholesome “toe tapping” quality, as a song about the fact that it is “after 12:00 noon somewhere”, it is a song with a fun and frisky nature and is just one of many great creations on the new album Future Country by The County Well.
When Floating Records announced the release of the album on March 16th, Don Zimmer, one of the principals of Floating Records, Recording Engineer and a contributing musician on Future Country said “Future Country is an album that embodies the idea of musical collaboration and sonic experimentation within the Marin County music scene of Northern California and beyond,” we at IndiePulse could not agree more.
Recording projects that have this much collaboration usually lack a sense of rhythm and groove as musicians typically overplay parts, making the songs sound crowded – like too many people speaking at the same time in a small room. Future Country never allows this to happen. Zimmer starts with distinctive rhythms and determinedly keeps them to the end. “I would start with a click track and keep everything from there,” observes Zimmer. “The rhythmic aspect had to be tightened down. I wanted (Future Country) to sound like a band playing together.”
For this St. Patrick’s Day, we recommend you put a little bit of country in your celebrations and Irish up your coffee with a bit O’ Whiskey Before Noon. Float on over to Floating Records, get yourself this album, Future Country is a must have for this year’s new album releases.
The origin of the County Well was Zimmer connecting with Graham Guest of the Houston, TX-based group, Moses Guest. “We started writing and collaborating together,” recalls Zimmer, who along with Guest penned all eleven tracks on Future Country. “I’d use anyone that came by the studio that had musical talent. We just asked ourselves how much fun we could have trying different things.” The answer to that question seems to be “a lot,” as Future Country constantly shifts under the listener’s feet like a smooth, psychedelic carnival ride.
“The goal is to connect the talents of both local and traveling musicians. “Being free and creative were the main goals of this project,” reveals Zimmer. “The name (County Well) comes from the idea of growing the well of musical collaborators in the area.”
Future Country by The County Well in total is a beautifully composed album in the country style, but is not just another “Country Album”, listening to all 12 tracks , there is a sense of various music stylings that take from a multitude of musical genres, including Latin rhythms, Rock, R&B, Soul and others. With the inclusion of woodwinds, brass, various string instruments and the formidable talents of the artists performing on this album, Future Country is definitely poised to cross the musical divide, bringing all music lovers into the same arena.
“Future Country“: A Song-By-Song Synopsis
“Whiskey Before Noon” (Don Zimmer): This track is a spirited Country-flavored track featuring Michael Blumenstein (guitar, vocals) and acclaimed newcomer Alyssa Joy Claffey (fiddle. vocals), with the full Country Well ensemble contributing to a memorable, rousing chorus.
“Mezzanine” (Graham Guest, Don Zimmer): Guest’s soulful baritone vocals lend this tune a strong roots-and-rhythm feel all over it (can you say, ‘Country Cha-Cha’?), nicely augmented by Sandy Stadfelt’s trombone.
“Mrs. Soul” (Don Zimmer): Tasty guitar licks by Graham Guest and Don Zimmer augment Guest’s soaring vocals. Erik Yates lends his flute prowess, while Tracy Blackman and Steven Younger add spot-on backing vocals.
“Baby” (Graham Guest): Country-fied dittie flows with the layered harmonies of Amy Nordstrom, sweet slide guitar of Joel Jaffee and Dobro dexterity of Erik Yates.
“Ship You Can’t Steer” (Don Zimmer): Opens with an arresting Jethro Tull-like flute lead by Yates as Guest wistfully sings, “singing a song, hope you won’t hear, wondering when, you got all that fear…”
“Light” (Graham Guest): Beautiful acoustic track with those ever-present sweet harmonies by Eric Eisenberg and others that are a staple of Future Country.
“Alabama” (Graham Guest): Leads with the comforting blues-y swells of a Joel Jaffee’s pedal steel guitar and Zimmer’s snare drums, with its Paul Simon-like harmonies, but quickly shifts into an upbeat tempo as drums and bass play in a near-poly-rhythmic groove. Special mention for Ms. Sophie Meier’s backing vocals.
“Extra Heavy” (Don Zimmer): Simmers to a slow, grooving boil with its Grateful Dead-esque double-dose of Joel Jaffee’s lap-steel guitar and piano lead by Steven Younger.
“Empty Hall” (Graham Guest): Ethereal, blues-sounding track features haunting vocals by Guest and pedal steel guitar to die for by Joel Jaffee, augmented by those ever-present, multiple-artist harmonies.
“Hollywood” (Don Zimmer): Haunting piano solo by Younger as Guest waxes poetic on Route 66 and the venerable City of Angels. One of the lines in this song “I just came to see…if the Hollywood sign…is still in the Hollywood Hills,” sounds like a mournful memory of good times long gone and almost forgotten.
“Subtle And Serene” (Graham Guest, Don Zimmer): All-instrumental song featuring Guest on lead guitar and Yates on flute channels the popular “Jam Band” sound.
Got to Floating Records and hear this album for yourself, the entire album is available for download, or listen to the entire album and purchase select tracks of your choice, you will not be disappointed.
About Floating Records:
Floating Records was born from the vibrant houseboat community of Sausalito, California. They realized the need to create a platform that both promoted the incredible music that surrounded us all and wanted to help the musician survive in this digital world. Floating Records mission is to cultivate a site with talented musicians from a variety of genres. They represent and distribute the best local and independent music.
“Our commitment is to honor the music and the musician by providing not only an outlet for exposure, but also ensuring that the artists profit directly from their music. When a musician creates, we feel that they should reap the benefits of their hard work”.
When music is downloaded from the Floating Records site, the artists receive 100% of the money.