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Album Review

Steeped in Americana, West Coast outfit the Waybacks are able to meld Appalachian or mountain music with a summery "jam band" feeling for most of this record. Whether it is the somewhat catchy "City Boy," with its somewhat odd bridge, or the mellow "Nice to Be Alone," the group is content to let the melodies do most of the work. But sometimes the laid-back Jack Johnson-ish melodies don't quite measure up, especially on the winding and somewhat meandering "The River," which has some fleeting quality moments. Thankfully, things get back on track with the leaner pop-country of "Good Enough," bringing Jimmy Buffett or Dire Straits to mind. Meanwhile, the group seems to shine during the tranquil, placid "Savannah" with its swinging Django-like hue, and the honky tonk effort "Tired of Being Right." Probably the dark horse or sleeper on this folk-pop album is the swaying waltz-like Celtic-leaning number "Beyond the Northwest Passage," in the vein of the Pogues or Flogging Molly. Following the cinematic violin introduction of "Black Cat," the Waybacks move into a klezmer-meets-bluegrass feel with interesting results.

Customer Reviews

sizzling, soaring, swinging, satisfying

The Waybacks have moved to a new level with this album. Warren Hood & James Nash provide the most daring, challenging, dialogue ever heard between violin & guitar. "Black Cat" is a tour de force, beginning with a plaintive violin solo, moving to counterpoint that would make Bach proud, and culminating with a frenetic exchange of licks that will make you want to jump to your feet and scream with delight. With tight harmonies and engaging lead vocals from Hood & Nash, the original lyrics range from charmingly fun ("Conjugal Visit", "Tired of Being Right") to dark ("The River"), with everything in between. Impossible to classify, they combine bluegrass, jazz, western swing, and several other musical traditions into a spicy cauldron of satisfying stew.


This little gem is "loaded" with goodies but the real diamond in all of this is the fiddle and voice of Warren Hood.

I love Warren Hood

I saw The Waybacks in concert, and they were great! I love it when artists sound good on CD and live. It's the true sign of greatness. I love the bluesy sound of Warren Hood's voice. It's so raw and real. It kind of reminds me of Brett Dennen. My favorite song is Nice to Be Alone, with Savannah coming in a close second. I really enjoyed this CD, and I hope you guys continue to make great music!


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The traditional sounds of old-timey string band music is only element of the musical tapestry woven by San Francisco-based quintet the Waybacks. Roots Town Music Magazine called them "a dream combination of punk vandalism and hyper-intelligent, seldom heard, humoristic musicality," while the Winnipeg Free Press praised them for their "unpretentious musicality." Describing their musical approach, wrote, "it's everything from 'Kumbaya'-like folk and cowboy jazz, space jam, celtoid,...
Full Bio
Loaded, The Waybacks
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Customer Ratings