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CD REVIEW: The Woodshedders - The Woodshedders
By Cyrus Rhodes - 06/23/2011 - 01:08 AM EDT

Artist: Band: The Woodshedders
Album: The Woodshedders
Label: Sheppard Ford records
Genre: Americana, Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: The Woodshedders
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Viper James, Badger Blood
Weakness: Short-sided Production
CD Review:

Washington DC’s own “The Woodsheders” release their self-titled debut release in 2011. Band members include Dwayne Brooke (Guitars & Vocals) Ryan Mayo (Upright Bass & Vocals) Jesse Shultzaberger (Drums & Chickenhouse) & Dave Van Deventer (Fiddle & Vocals)

The CD kicks things off with “Badger Blood” an upbeat rockabilly ditty that serves up classic Americana groove against driving rock rhythms, slamming fretwork, fiddles, & rich harmonies from Brooke & company.  Track 2 “Narwhal” shifts gears with its dynamic flowing rhythm, fancy fretwork, & impressive musical melody. Track 3 “Slipping Through” keeps things moving with passionate vocals from Brooke that peaks & valleys its way through to emotional fruition. This CD makes a solid first impression& really never lets up. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Lyle Lovitt, Credence Clearwater Revival & Bob Dylan.The music itself is an amazing blend of Gypsy Jazz, Old Time Bluegrass, & Americana Folk roots with an unmistakable stand-up bass driven vibe. The musicianship of all the players involved is equally as impressive. The accordion solo guitar accents are well placed. The rhythm groove (Bass & Drums) is thick as a brick. But the fretwork will be sure to make your head spin. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere, from impressive solo guitar licks, amazing harmonies, impressive mandolin, dobro, & fiddles. But the most impressive thing about this is the vocal persona from vocalist Dwayne Brooke. Across the board he just lets it all hang out with reckless abandon that cannot be faked. From jumping “Viper James” to rocking “Four Winds” & sand Grain” to heartfelt “Virginia’s Fair Daughters” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 9: Chicken to Change” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

It’s hard to find any real weaknesses with this CD. At 34 minutes it’s fair to say the production is a bit short. Perhaps 2 or 3 more songs are needed to really seal the deal for me. It may not be a grand slam but it’s definitely a home run of a release.   

From start to finish "The Woodshedders” is one impressive catalog of music. The music is consistent, uplifting, & extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing & playing abilities of this quartet is rock solid. The lyrics are catchy lyrics, & the melodies are well crafted & hooky. All in all it’s an impressive snapshot of music from a hot Americana band from out east.

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