Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wound up by The Millwinders

The Millwinders
This has been a great couple of months for Toronto rockabilly releases. First, The Royal Crowns knocked me out with Volume Three, which made my recently submitted first-round Polaris Music Prize ballot. And now The Millwinders have made a major impression with Ladies and Gentlemen, The Millwinders.

All four members sing and play, and vocalist/bassist/baritone saxophone player Sarah Butler, guitarist/vocalist Johnny Gallagher and guitarist vocalist James "Cricket" Henry each write their own songs as well. Drummer Glenn Kimberley keeps a solid backbeat throughout the 12-song, half-hour album.

Butler shows off her vocal chops in the vintage-sounding opener "Sweet Talk," which also features solid harmonies in the chorus and a nice guitar fill in the bridge. Classic Patsy Cline may come to mind on Butler's "In Time She Will" and "It's Too Late."

Henry is a former member of The Royal Crowns, and the brand of rockabilly he's long been associated with shines brightly through "Forever Time" and the melodic "Ain't No Laughing Matter, while his "High Heeled Hot Rod" should be a dancefloor packer.

Gallagher's "Night Time" and "He'll Leave Tomorrow" are more in an old-school country vein, while his "Something Out of Nothin'" sounds like it could have come from Sun Studios in the late '50s.

Butler's baritone sax plays a big part on the bluesy "Can't Do Nothin'," while there are excellent guitar tones and The Millwinders do the multi-talented James Intveld proud on his "My Heart Is Achin' For You."

I can mentally picture Butler singing "Each Day" in a smoky bar, but the sad reality is that I've never seen The Millwinders perform. Based on the strength of this album, I'm sure it would be a can't miss good time.

Ladies and gentlemen, get to know The Millwinders.

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