Formerly Avi and Celia, “Hey Mama” officially marks Mr. Salloway’s and Ms. Woodsmith’s first release under their new name and band. While the songs of their previous release “Let it Rise” sometimes eclipse some of the songs here, “Hey Mama” still gives a heady rock and roll, with fantastic bluesy vocals from Woodsmith. For those who are unfamiliar with the young prodigy, she smacks of old jazz singers, blue smoke-filled bars, and importantly, displays impressive range and technique. The backing band, whether it be guitarist Salloway with rhythm section Ben Kogan and Jared Seabrook, or if it’s Boston’s Tecumseh Strings, find themselves comfortable all over the board, which the vocals demand. Strike towards the fantastic Americana “Mountain Bones,” featuring the Tecumseh Strings, the blues of “Driving Nails,” or the slow-paced, misty “Whiskey Bayou.” The only weakness on these tracks is the uncharacteristic choice of “Dred Scott,” but the other songs here make up for it. Recommended.
Listen to “Mountain Bones”: www.myspace.com/453173424