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Waydown Wailers Release “Firefall”

The Parker brothers, Christian and Dave, are the guiding artistic lights behind New York State’s Waydown Wailers. They wouldn’t be able to pull off their particular brand of rock magic, however, without the talents of drummer Michael “Scruffy” Scriminger, bassist Connor Pelkey, and jack-of-all-trades second guitarist/keyboardist and backing singer Joe Thomas.

Their combined talents have garnered the Wailers plum slots supporting such luminaries as The Charlie Daniels Band, ZZ Top, and Lady Antebellum, but they deserve greater kudos for four albums and counting of stellar original material.   The band’s latest release Miles of Roads will hit in June 2023 and the collection’s new single “Firefall” emphasizes the band’s storytelling skills. Written as a tribute of sorts to New York’s Firefall State Park, a mysterious stretch of land where visitors have reputedly vanished and compasses spin out of control, the Waydown Wailers are pushing a track that makes ample musical use of such atmospheric legends.  

Newcomers will note the band’s different feel. The Waydown Wailers aren’t introducing any instrumental wildcards, but their take on traditional hard rock posturing isn’t ordinary. A deliberate pace dominates the bulk of “Firefall” interspersed with mid-tempo musical tissue. They tailor the vocal melody to the Parkers’ distorted guitar riffing, and it gives the verses a hypnotic droning effect. It’s appropriately askew and off the beaten path given the subject matter.

Dave Parker and Joe Thomas’ vocals are studies in detachment yet pair well together. They deliver lyrics with a certain inevitability surrounding them; the rhymes are natural and never forced. Thomas’ B3 Hammond organ is a welcome retro touch and fills out the band’s sound. It’s a supplementary instrument for this song rather than playing a lead role, but it’s nonetheless crucial to the song’s success.  

Some will argue there isn’t enough variation in the arrangement. Others will find “Firefall” more than sufficient in this regard. The song does gain a great deal when taken with its accompanying music video. It helps accentuate the band’s gratifying sense of humor; they don’t take themselves too seriously and neither should you.

The clip is a thoroughly polished and professional presentation thanks to director Morgan Elliot, but this is a team effort.   The lyrics, however, don’t necessarily zero in on that sense of humor. It’s a literal and straightforward lyric that leans more on description for its storytelling rather than outright narrative. Nonetheless, “Firefall” is an one of a kind number that only the Waydown Wailers can claim. There are few, if any, other bands willing to revel in this sort of material, and fewer still who can make it work.   Mindy McCall    



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