The Woodshedders: Catch That Yardbird

“Catch That Yardbird” is the title of The Woodshedders’ CD. Who exactly are The Woodshedders? Well, they are a bunch of  troublemaking musicians (Dwayne Brooke, David Vandeventer, Stuart Orser, Ryan Mayo, Jesse Schultzaberger, Aimee Curl, and Morgan Morrison) based out of West Virginia who formed a real sweet old time/hot club/jazz/swing band. Dwayne Brooke wrote and composed all of the songs on “Catch That Yardbird” except for two: “That’s Old Time”, written by Dwayne and fellow bandmates Aimee Curl and Morgan Morrison, and “Vodka Before Breakfast,” a traditional song which was arranged by The Woodshedders.

“Catch That Yardbird” opens with a sunny little song called The Bird Song. The guitar work, as played by Stuart Orser and Dwayne Brooke, is fantastic. The Bird Song is the perfect tune to open the CD with. Very danceable. I tried to write as I listened to it, but I kept getting distracted by The Woodshedders’ rockin’ playing and found myself dancing around the room instead. Valse a Vandalia is a short little instrumental that’s awesomeness is condensed into it’s length of 3:09. Oh how love that song… It gives me chills. There’s something undeniably sexy about Valse a Vandalia… Whether it be the gypsy guitar, the soaring fiddle, or something else altogether I don’t know. Whatever it is, it’s simply captivating. “Catch That Yardbird” is now one of my favorite CD’s amongst a collection of hundreds (and every single CD in the aforementioned collection is great, so that’s saying something about The Woodshedders). Not to sound arrogant or anything, but I like to think I have impeccable taste in music. I  know not everyone would agree of course… For example, anyone who likes Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers would be astounded and insulted that I do not share their opinion of good music (I therefore rest my case). But I got ahead of myself! I’m already gushing about The Woodshedders’ CD being my new favorite, and I haven’t even finished writing about more than two songs! So on to the third, Train to Charleston. Another great dance number. Of course, “Catch That Yardbird” is full of them, so no surprise there… The Woodshedders play music inspired by a time when people could actually dance to the music they listened to. (I’m sorry, but the club dancing of nowadays does not qualify as dancing, okay?) Anyhow, there’s also some real nice mandolin picking on Train To Charleston, courtesy of guest musician Chance McCoy (also a guest on the CD is Stephanie Thompson on backup bebops). Next up is Chop, an instrumental which is perfectly complex, yet simple. Then comes the title track, Catch That Yardbird. The lyrics are so funny! They basically tell the tale of a honeybee who is poor. She’s friends with a chicken and a vine, and one day a bird in the sky drops a bag with a lot of money in it. The honeybee, chicken, and vine are excited, but the chicken – who hadn’t eaten all day –  swallows the purse, and runs down the street. The chorus is “Catch that yardbird!”, followed by some jazzy jumbles like some “bobba lou bobba lo” and “hooka pooka do doe” (or something like that….) Rhythm guitar holds a steady base, while lead guitar plays decorative improvisations. In the second verse, we learn that the honeybee caught up with the chicken, and the three characters move to Hollywood where they buy a henhouse made of gold, and have a barn full of shoes to boot (no pun intended, I swear). Oh yes, and they also have a gem for every finger and a diamond for every toe. The song ends with the chorus, and some more lickity splitting solos.

What song could The Woodshedders possibly follow Catch That Yardbird  with? Well, they chose one called The One, which is – at the risk of sounding redundant – the perfect one. It’s a little more relaxed, but has the same sweet rhythm guitar as all of their other songs. It also has a real nice bass solo one minute before the end. After that comes the shortest song on the album, the one minute and forty one seconds of a tune called Vodka Before Breakfast. With a name like that I wasn’t sure what to expect… Turns out it’s an instrumental that sounds like a Balkan folk dance.

For Granted is a slow two-step which I can totally see played at an old country  roadhouse bar (and I mean that as a compliment!) Listening to it makes me want to be dancing with John Travolta in “Urban Cowboy”… And the double stops on fiddle leave me breathless every time. After the peaceful For Granted, The Woodshedders pick things up once more with Ginseng Swing, a three minute instrumental full of hot licks and tremolos on guitar. After that comes the suave and urbane Watermaid. The music just oozes from the speakers, and I can see the song being used in a film noir… The slick, whispery end of Watermaid brings us to That’s Old Time, the last song on the album. Gotta love the lyrics: “…Every other cat that you meet on the street’s got a pick in hand and an old string band/now we don’t let no radios tell us how to sound, for old time music is the genuine/Cracked old fiddle squawking like a goose, kay bass thumping like a stomping moose/hobo camping out in the caboose/that’s old time, that’s old time…”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Luckily I don’t have to, for I’ve got The Woodshedders. I drove myself insane trying to figure out which songs on their CD were my favorites (it was honestly stressing me out!), so I gave up and decided to accept the fact that, well, every song is pretty much my favorite.

There you have it, folks. No go get yo’self a copy! Here, I’ll even give you the link: Buy Me!!!

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