The Waymores

REVIEW: The Waymores “Stone Sessions”


The Waymores – Stone Sessions

With a foundation set in vintage country music primarily early 60s — the duo of Willie Heath Neal & Kira Annalise has tradition in their DNA & some soulful country essentials. Kira has a voice sculptured in the marble of singers like Sue Thompson (“Sad Movies,” “Paper Tiger” “Norman”), & the more popish country of Diane Renay (“Navy Blue”). That is to say, Kira has an attractive voice & projects a rich rootsy style. Her twang is just enough to confirm the music’s authenticity.

On the tune “Die Right Here,” Kira approaches the song in a vocal tonality that’s similar to Lucinda Williams & it’s quite cool — since Willie comes in with his deep husky baritone in the manner that the rock/industrial band The Swans’ Michael Gira projected on his brief beautiful country sojourn on “The Burning World,” — most specifically the melancholic violin-tinted “The River That Runs Won’t Run Dry.”

The duo sounds great together, maybe Johnny Cash & June Carter or maybe Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood (who also had a real deep voice). Both duos covered “Jackson” way after the songwriters recorded it & The Kingston Trio.

But the team of Neal & Annalise has its own finesse in their honky-tonk structure. Both voices have their brawny & their sensitivity. They work well together. Nothing forced, & the respect they show for the aged genre is to be commended.

There’s indeed a splash of Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn in their showcase, but I have to admit this couple is quite original. They met 14 years ago, decided to collaborate & their material is quite good I’d have to make one suggestion. More humorously twisted ala John Prine & Iris DeMent originals should grace your repertoire. Write some things that are quirky. The voices are there & those are the songs that audiences wait for. “Bat Shit Crazy,” comes close but that borders more on novelty than quirky.

Stone Sessions (Drops April 8–Chicken Ranch Records) is their self-produced sophomore CD & it’s not a sophomore jinx. The tunes are all lively & showcased well. With 10-polished tunes — no one else has picked up the duo torch from Cash & Carter.

The Waymores

“Roll That Chain,” features Willie (with colorful language) & performs a quasi-near-spiritual song that has a holy roller, or should I say Holy Modal Rounders feel? The finale is “Ode to the Animals” & sounds like the duo’s hat tip to the late John Prine.

Willie (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar), Kira (Alto Vocals/Acoustic Guitar) are joined by Cody Jung (Electric Guitar), Steve Stone (Steel Guitar/BG Vocals), Dale Watson (Electric Guitar), Katie Shore (Fiddle), Shawn Thacker (Drums) & Eddie Martin (Bass).

The Waymores sound good — no matter what they sing.

Photo courtesy Linday Garett. The CD is available @

Enjoy our interview of the Waymores, here: Interview: The Waymores

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