Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Honky tonk bliss from this Seattle country outfit. I started the toe tapping immediately at the first note and the tappin’ hasn’t stopped yet. They come right out of the chute with an upbeat, twang filled number about a lost love. This is a very common theme in honky tonk music but The Whiskey Club put their own signature on bad romance and heartbreak. My Oh My (Track 1) showcases the chicken pickin’ talents of lead guitarist Jason Goessl, the tight vocal harmonies of lead vocalist Mark Pessl, flawless banjo playing of Eric Piippo, and steady bass playing of Paul Beaudry. It is a great song that you wouldn’t know is supposed to be sad unless you listen to the lyrics, which I recommend. A very nice juxtaposition of sad lyrics with happy upbeat music. The irony is quite tangible.
If you like humor, then Big Rig (Track 2) is a perfect song. It is supposed to be a trucker song, but I suspect it may be a double entendre. “I got a big rig in my pocket, and going home to you”, sing Mark Pessl with his perfect honky tonk voice. If my suspicions are correct, this song could be about more that just carrying a big load of cargo. I suppose all these songs are open to interpretation.
There is a some old time rock and roll on this album as well. Dream Girl (Track 4) is a Roy Orbison-esque number that has those haunting guitar fills and multi part harmonies that were quite common in the late 50s and early 60s. It is about fantasizing about a woman that may or may not be attainable. A very nice and romantic love song that takes us back many years.
The band has been together for 11 years now and they claim that Saddle And Rails is their best album to date. Admittedly, I have not heard anything else from The Whiskey Club; but if there other albums are even half as good as this one, they will still be considered gems. If those are gems, this may be the five carat diamond.