The Sweet Water Warblers “With You” (SweetWaterWarblers, 2017)

Wow! These ladies can really sing. The quality of the harmony work on all the tracks on this EP is just outstanding. Hailing from Michigan, the Sweet Water Warblers are Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou and May Erlewine, three women who had already forged independent reputations on the American Roots circuit, they came together at a festival appearance in 2014 and haven’t looked back since.

This outstanding EP features 5 tracks, 4 originals (one each from Lindsay Lou and Rachael Davis and two from May Erlewine) plus an arrangement of old gospel favourite “Amazing Grace”, called House of Amazing Grace the track cleverly pairs the lyrics of Amazing Grace with the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” (see what they did there?!) to excellent effect. Early standout track is Lazarus which just drips with quality – a subtle banjo riff underlies the whole song and it’s brought home with some beautiful, haunting fiddle playing at the end. It’s shot through with a wonderfully understated Appalachian feel – “Let the waters take me down, let all my troubles drown”. It’s an outstanding song but has plenty of competition from the other tracks. EP opener Sing Me a Song is an acapella number that shows just how good these women’s voices work together.

The simple fact is that all the tracks are excellent, showing off the Warblers great voices as well as their fine playing. There’s really only one serious flaw with this recording and that’s the fact that it’s only an EP – five songs – when they’re this good, really aren’t enough. This is top drawer roots music.

 

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