I am not an authority on Western Swing music but I do like some of it - even though it's usually associated with dancing and I don't dance. Suzy Bogguss had an album called "Swing" that I really liked and some Gene Watson songs are western swing like "All Hat No Cattle", "Memories to Burn", etc. When I think of western swing I also think of that tall dude from Philly who made his fortune in Texas, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel. He sang a duet with Suzy B on Swing, "Cupid Shot Us Both with One Arrow."
Up until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of the Western Swing Authority. I stumbled upon a fairly new country music blog (began in 2014 I think) called Country Perspective and found a review of WSA's 3rd and latest album, "Now Playing". I checked out the songs on you-tube and i-Tunes and bought "Now Playing" plus some songs from their first two albums.
The WSA is a seven-piece Canadian band made up of Shane Guse, wife - Stacey Lee Guse, Dan Howlett, Matthew Lima, Ed "Pee Wee Charles" Ringwald, Jim Boudreau and Paul Chapman. Some one called them a Canadian version of the Time Jumpers. Stacey is the primary lead vocalist with Shane taking the lead occasionally. The musicians have all won awards. Check the band's website for details.
The song titles will be followed by the names of the songwriters in parenthesis, the lead singer, maybe a comment, and for my favorites, a partial lyric.
The first single from "Now Playing", "Sweet Harriet", was released on January 27, 2015 according to i-Tunes. Was it released only on Canadian country radio? I don't know.
"Sweet Harriet" (Shane Guse & Larry Wayne Clark) tells the story about Harriet LeBeau and what her daddy didn't know. How can you not like a swingin' fun song with fiddles that mentions freckles in the first verse? Stacey Lee Duce sings lead. Wow. Is she great!
"Her name is Harriet LeBeau, she is the preacher's daughter
She's got three freckles on her nose, and she sips on holy water
In a Sunday morning cotton dress, you'd swear she's good as gold
But as the weekly hours progress, a darker tale unfolds,
She lets her long hair down, and shimmies into town."
"Swing Hot, Sweet Harriet, walking down the lane
when you swing that thing with all you've got, the boys all go insane
No you won't hear them complain".
This song won't have you complaining either.
"One of Us is Lying" (John Bohlinger) Stacey Lee on lead. I thought that this gorgeous sultry ballad with a sense of humor would be a great follow-up to Harriet. I didn't know that it had already been released as a single from their previous album "All Dolled Up". Great song that doesn't chart well? No surprise these days.
"You say your heart is always true, and I say my love is undying
but I know me and I know you, one of us is lying."
"Honesty is overrated, your kind words are appreciated
I rather make my bed with a warm soft lie, than have a hard cold truth make me cry all night."
"Old Dance Floor" (Shane Guse & Jason Blaine) a Shane and Stacey uptempo duet.
Shane begins the duet: "Monday through Friday the boss is on my back
when that whistle blows I hit the road with a pocket full of cash".
Stacey joins the party with: "I'm gonna shine up my buckle, I'm gonna polish up my boots
we're gonna find a little trouble, something we can get in to".
Other songs I like from "Now Playing":
"Slow Boat to China" (Frank Loesser) Stacey sings this 1948 pop standard.
"Swingtime Lullabye (Shane Guse & Larry Wayne Clark) another Stacey and Shane duet, this time a ballad.
"The Last Waltz" (Joe Hash) Stacey
"Swing Thing" (Shane Guse & Jason McCoy) Shane
"Livin' a Dream" (Stacey Lee Guse & Matthew Lima) Stacey
"Miss Molly" (Cindy Walker) Shane sings this 1942 song.
"Rocket to the Moon" (Colin James) Stacey
"Cowtown Queen" (Dan Howlett & Shane Guse) Shane
from the "All Dolled Up" album:
"I've Got a Feeling" (Shane Guse & Larry Wayne Clark) Stacey sings this bluesy ballad that sounds like it came from the 1940's. It begins:
"I've got a feelin' that you don't love me any more
It's got me to thinkin', I should just walk out the door."
the song concludes:
"I've got a feeling, there's nothing I can do
so why make a fuss, soon there'll be no more us
cause I've got a feelin' we're through."
"All Dolled Up" (Shane Guse & Jason Blaine) Shane on lead vocals for this uptempo tune:
"hold on to your hearts boys, look but you can't touch
my baby when she's all dolled up"
"Any Old Time" (Jimmie Rodgers) from 1929, Stacey on lead
A few favorites from their debut cd, "Western Swing Authority":
"Leaving and Saying Goodbye" (can't find the names of the songwriters - checked ASCAP, BMI, SESAC & SOCAN - help!) Stacey
"All of Me" (Words - Gerald Marks, Music - Seymour Simons) from 1931, Stacey
Western Swing music lovers may find more to like than I did on the WSA's first two albums. This new "Now Playing" cd has me won over. Love the album and Stacey Lee is already one of my favorite female vocalists. I would add the WSA to my list of favorite Canadian country artists that includes Anne Murray, Terri Clark and Lisa Brokop.
Thanks again to Country Perspective for bringing this great band to my attention. CP is one of the country blogs that does not praise every song it reviews. They rate on a scale of zero to ten and have handed out zeros. Country Universe, My Kind of Country and For the Country Record are a few others I'm aware of that rate objectively.