Wide Mouth Mason I Wanna Go With You WideMouthMason.com
Being of a particular age, the ‘rock & roll’ music of the late ‘90s and early 2000s didn’t do much for me. I was busy with rootsier endeavors, and paid little-to-no attention to what was going on with the kids. I come to Wide Mouth Mason 2020 knowing the name and having only a passing familiarity with the story—Saskatoon, a few Canadian hits (none of which sound familiar as I search the YouTube), and an understanding that they ‘came back’ in earnest several years ago.
I Wanna Go With You is a most enjoyable album of greasy, blues-drenched rock & roll. Upon first listen, immediately Gordie Johnson’s Big Sugar off-shoot with Kelly ‘Mr. Chill’ Hoppe sprang to mind. Imagine my chagrin when I start on the research: Johnson produced the previous Big Mouth Mason album No Bad Days, and to further confound me Hoppe makes an appearance on this album’s penultimate number, “Outsourced.” Sigh.
The album kicks off with the simultaneously smooth-yet-gritty blues of “Bodies in Motion,” and seldom lets up over the course of its 38-minute run. “Stay For A Couple More” and road- and radio-friendly “Anywhere” are about as gentle as things get. More rambunctious are stellar performances of “Erase Any Trace” (co-written with David Gogo, and previously featured on his excellent Different Views) and “Only Child,” a burning number that just keeps getting hotter with each verse.
Guitarist Shawn Verreault lays out ‘threestyle’ tri-slide lap steel riffs lick after lick, with “Outsourced” borrowing from Lucinda’s (Randy Weeks’) “Can’t Let Go.” The closing “You Get Used to It” is a plaintive meditation of determination borne of maturity and necessity, a fitting coda for an album awash with challenging sounds signifying a marked departure toward a new path.
Verreault’s partner of some twenty-five years, Safwan Javed remains on drums and percussion, with co-producer Ryan Dahle sharing bass duties with Darren Parris. Javed’s touch on songs including “I Wanna Go With You” and the soulful “Every Red Light,” which also features the ‘honey/whiskey-voiced” singing of Tonye Aganaba, is appreciated.
A cover of David Bowie’s “Modern Love” is distinctly original, with the song only initially being recognized as the chorus comes around; Shawn Hall (The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer) provides the harp on this reinvention. Within an album of decidedly non-traditional blues sounds, the most traditional sounding number is “High Road,” a composition strongly reminiscent of “Mystery Train.”
Good stuff, much enjoyed. Would have been on my list of favourite blues albums of 2019 had it found me earlier. Recommended.