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The Witherbees: Love Letter

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The Witherbees: Love Letter
The Witherbees are a band from Philadelphia that mix folk, country, rock and jazz together into a stew of dreamy music that flows together easily into a distinctive sound.

Instrumental tracks like "Mirage," "Cold Spell" and "Tribute Valley" are the most overtly jazzy ones on their album. On these, Mike Lorenz's guitar and Jacqui Armbruster's viola play against each other in a low-key swinging mode over the tumbling undercarriage of Justin Sekelewski's solid bass and Kyle Andrews' strutting drums. "Goody Bag" is a more up-tempo version of this style with guitar and viola freely soaring together as the rhythm section walks fast. Lorenz really cuts loose here with billowing liquid runs that have traces of both John Scofield and Bill Frisell in full jazz mindset.

Jacqui Armbruster's voice brings its own special magic on the tracks where she sings. On the folk-rockish "Linger" she sounds seductive and warm against Lorenz's simple guitar chords and the EVI whistling of guest John Swana but she really gets to cut loose on the country laments "Easy" and "To Be Free." On those Armbruster sounds endearingly sad over weeping rhythms as Lorenz' guitar shimmers underneath her. She also gives a touching performance on Brian Wilson's "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" even as the other three members of the band drop a bit of shivery abstraction into the middle of the track.

The Witherbees' blend of several strands of music sounds fine whether they are led by Jacqui Armbruster's endearing singing or just play coolly hip string jazz. They are an enjoyably laid back group with a lot of charm and Love Letter shows all their facets well.

Track Listing

Linger; Mirage; To Be Free (interlude); I Just Wasn't Made For These Times; Cold Spell; Easy; Tribute Valley; To Be Free; Goody Bag; Mo(u)rning.

Personnel

Mike Lorenz: guitar; Jacqui Armbruster: voice / vocals; Justin Sekelewski: bass, acoustic; Kyle Andrews: drums; John Swana: trumpet; Chris Simonini: keyboards; Tom Spiker: guitar.

Additional Instrumentation

Jacqui Armbruster, viola; John Swana (1); Chris Simonini (8); Tom Spiker (10).

Album information

Title: Love Letter | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Recent Music

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