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article imageReview: Which came first, the city or the country?

By Tom Mortensen     Apr 29, 2016 in Entertainment
Shotgun Wedding hails from the New York City metropolitan area; a busy place teeming with action, attitude and a whole lot of noise. The band, billed under the moniker City Country, leaves one poised to ask, what exactly does that mean?
Shotgun Wedding recently released their debut CD, South of Somewhere; 13 cuts that paint a Big Apple travelogue of sorts for the unfamiliar, uninformed and generally not from around here crowd.
City Boy kicks off the journey. Opening with a sweeping flourish of piano magic supplied by the incomparable Wade Preston, it eloquently evokes the feel of a typical metro morning, from a quick cup of java to the harried commute on the New York City subway system.
There’s a track fire on the F line, Just one stop before mine, I hit the street and make it just in time, laments vocalist Dennis DelGaudio who co-wrote the tune with Preston, which depicts everyday life in the big city where country music may not seem prevalent, but concrete cowboys do exist.
Footsteps Away, written by DelGaudio and bassist Andy Cichon keeps Manhattan in the crosshairs, proving it lives up to its calling as the city that never sleeps.
Stacked up one hundred stories high in this city by the sea,
Decisions, decisions,
Flip a coin and see
It’s all just Footsteps Away
While the cut seems more at home on Broadway than let’s say, Main Street U.S.A., this calliope flavored tune brilliantly captures the frenetic, yet playful vibe of the wide array of leisurely delights all within walking distance.
It’s not all fun and games in the big town however. City Hall, penned by DelGaudio and vocalist Catherine Porter bravely tackles the meaty social issue of pre-marital canoodling.
My honey and I gonna tie the knot
The day after tomorrow is all we’ve got
Not a minute to waste ‘cause my waist is gettin’ gone
Gettin’ hitched before the secret’s out and Daddy’s temper’s on.
Porter’s vocal conveys just the right amount of twangy desperation, leaving no doubt that this concrete cowgirl is in a heap of trouble and determined to make it right, New York City style.
We stood in line to dot our I’s and cross our T’s
With a clerk that looked like Willie and smelled like Jim Beam
We said, “we do” in sixty seconds flat
Signed, sealed, delivered and in a taxi just like that.
The stripped down acoustic approach on City Hall, reveals a group of musicians having one heck of a good time that you can feel in every note. Seasoned drummer, Chuck Burgi brings the fun home with lighthearted fills giving real voice to smiles undoubtedly evident during the recording of this one.
The real gem here is the DelGaudio, Porter, Preston collaboration, Hurtin’ Songs. Catherine Porter’s vocal prowess on this soulful ballad rings so true with raw emotion ranging from the exhaustion of unending heartache following a tough break-up to the long awaited return of hope and freedom and happiness. The a cappella bridge delivers such salvation that audiences will clap and sing along with the fervor of a Sunday morning congregation in a deep south gospel church.
There is such a wide range of music featured on this debut outing that one can imagine radio programmers scratching their heads wondering just where South of Somewhere might fit in. Wade Preston’s, Down in Flames channels the raucous grit of the Man in Black, with a side of the Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis thrown in for good measure. Now, talk about an all-time low! Dennis DelGaudio hits some deep bass notes on the feverish Skeeter’s that would make Oak Ridge Boy vocalist Richard Sterban raise an eyebrow. Andy Cichon’s, Just One Minute features a catchy hook strong enough to linger in your head all day and is clearly a mainstream favorite.
There is no need to call to attention the impressive résumés of each of these five talented musicians, as the music is the only thing that really counts. Now if you’re still sitting here scratching your head wondering which really did come first, the city or the country, does it really matter? The album’s title track says it all.
A little house with a big couch
Willie and Waylon playn’ on the radio
We’re from the south, the south of somewhere
City country, common ground.
Album Cover
Album Cover
Shotgun Wedding
South of Somewhere is available on iTunes or via the band's website
More about Country music, CD release, Band, Shotgun Wedding, NYC
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