Wreckless Strangers is a band from the San Francisco area that covers a bluesy, countrified range of styles that fit nicely under the Americana music umbrella. They have a new album out When the Sun and a Blue Star Collide, produced by Colin Linden (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Keb’ Mo’, Alison Krauss & Robert Plant), engineered by John Whynot with assistant engineer Sean Beresford; and recorded at Calliope West. All songs were arranged and performed by Wreckless Strangers with Colin Linden; the horns were arranged and performed by Jim Hoke
The band is Amber Morris on vocals; David Noble on lead guitar and vocals; Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers) on bass; Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys; Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums and vocals; and Rob Anderson (repeat world champion cyclist) on guitar. The album also features Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica (“Sun State”), Colin Linden on guitar (“Sun State,” “Alexa”), and Jim Hoke on horns and pedal steel (“Raw Deal,” “Mudluscious,” “Alexa,” “My Art”).
What a pretty, but existentially frightening, title. Luckily the album’s grooves will bring you directly back down to Earth and ground you. The opening track, “Sun State,” is bouncy bass lines and harmonica blowing fierce like the hurricane wind. That’d be Charlie Musselwhite you’re hearing. Amber Morris delivers the powerful blues lines, beginning with the emphatic, “Staring at the sun just makes you burn a whole lot brighter” and resting on the question “Can something brilliant last forever?” And we wonder, though, why not? (Catch the video here: Video Premiere: Wreckless Strangers “Sun State“)
David Noble takes the vocal lead on the next song, “My Art,” and we are treated to a gentler musing on the challenges of life and art, and the need to understand: “please don’t tell me it’ll be all right.” “Ain’t No Thing” hands back off to Amber on vocals, and it’s strutting, “getting it done” blues.
“You Just Hurt” is electric guitar slides and dirty bluesy tones with the concept that well, you just hurt.
“Mudlucious” is a unique name and a layered groovy song where the instruments jam, and the perfect line “dirty bare feet and a toe dipping in the creek,” is followed by another: “a symphony of the cricket flies in the Texas night.” Reading that written down doesn’t do it justice, you need to hear it in its sultry musical context to get how cool it is. Uh huh! Enjoy the hot summer groove a là Wreckless Strangers.
“Alexa” is an early released single, again delivered with Amber’s blues vocal punch. A nice tongue-in-cheek ode to the small Orwellian device lurking in many of our homes. “Girl, you got no soul. I’m scared of you and Siri trying to take control.”
At its generous length of 14 mostly grooving, all entertaining songs there’s a lot to enjoy on this album. There are electric grooves like the Dead with jam band delights, straight out bold power-blues numbers and a countrified range in between with lyrics that’ll stick with you. The album cover artwork was designed by Stanley Mouse (Grateful Dead, Journey) too. Find more information and their tour dates here: https://wrecklessstrangers.com/home
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