REVIEW: Wet Tuna’s “Water Weird” Pushes the Psychedelic Edge of Countrified Blues


Wet Tuna’s Water Weird finds Matt Valentine and Pat Gubler (PG Six) pushing the psychedelic edge of electrified country blues. Self-described, “brothers of the steel-string,” Matt and Pat dig deep into traditional folk-blues motifs to establish a solid foundation for their otherworldly excursions.

In addition to the duo at the core of Wet Tuna, Water Weird, Wet Tuna’s Three Lobed Recordings debut, features performances from John Moloney (drums), S. Freyer Esq. (drums/percussion), and Jim Bliss (bass).

Album opener, “Poor Old Interstellar,” begins with a simple pre-programed electric beat that sounds like it came off a Casion toy keyboard from the 1980s before building into an electric country blues jam eerily reminiscent of the Grateful Dead. Unfortunately too many jam bands fall prey to the allure of the Space/Drums without recalling that the Grateful Dead was steeped in folk, country, and blues long before the extended jam took over. This foundation is what give the jams power beyond mere noodling. On “Poor Old Interstellar,” Wet Tuna embrace the further reaches of Jerry-space while maintaining a connection to the roots music launch pad. By the time the electronic beat has been substituted for live drums, Wet Tuna have launched on the back of a bass tone that could come straight from Lesh’s bass rig. What the track lacks in lyrical prowess it makes up for in musical alchemy.

“Disco Bev” leans hard into driving African rhythms that push and pull against Miles Davis jazz fusion era style keyboards and a cutting electric guitar evoking of Miles’ trumpet as it punches its way in and out of the groove. “Cowpath 40” eases off the throttle as Wet Tuna embraces a relaxed groove with an enticing vocal line slow dancing deep in the reverb, while “Sacagawea” bristles with the indignation befitting the long misunderstood and Disney-ified story of the Native American woman.

“Goin’” splits the difference between the “Cowpath 40” and “Sacagawea” with an easy going veneer hiding a building energy beneath which brings to mind Cass McCombs and The War on Drugs. The album closer, “Roam,” sets out a different course than its partners in crime by prominently featuring a fingerpicked acoustic guitar. Space transmission sounds and heavy reverb quickly launch this acoustic tune into the ether.

Wet Tuna’s Water Weird rides the waves of the unknown in between here and there. “Nothing left to do, but roll roll roll,” sings the “Roam” refrain; for Wet Tuna the journey is the destination. Are you ready to surf the Water Weird with Wet Tuna? Listen today to find out.


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