Look out Vermont – there’s a new trio in town, and their recording debut is a contender!…well, that’s what the press blurb would say on the back of their new recording, were it not such an understated and tastefully packaged production.
And it would mostly be right, with one qualifier on that ”new’ thought: the just-released, self-titled (“Twist of the Wrist”) recording is more like the formalization of an artistic relationship many years in the making, between three well established musicians in the area.
If you’ve spent some time listening to the Burlington scene in recent years, you’re very likely know at least one of these folks: Robert Resnik, (accordions, guitar, vocals, and PVC flute,…yes, there IS a story in there…); Liz Thompson (hurdy-gurdy, percussion, and some of the purest vocals you’re likely to hear anywhere); and Barbara Wager (turns out if it has a hole in it, she can play it-clarinet, flutes, saxes, recorders, and…this is very cool…the crumhorn, a hooked, wooden sort of flute that looks like it’s being played by blowing into the wrong end of the candy cane.)
Ensemble, they are ‘Twist of the Wrist’, and their CD release party was held last night at the Flynndog studio space. (Aside: what will life be like when we start having to throw “mp3” release parties instead? Or, bleaker thought yet, WILL we have them!? Are release parties another potential lame duck casualty of digital evolution, like liner note booklets, and three-panel, fold-out album cover art? Anyone remember Roger Dean’s legendary ‘Yes’ covers? Or the masterwork that is the two-panel sketch and poem, inside of the original ‘Love Supreme’ album? Wow…cover art’s one thing I guess, but I really hope the end of release parties is not where things are headed. Let’s not do that. OK? OK.)
I made it for the beginning of the second set just as the trio started in with “Il ya Toujours (‘there’s always tomorrow’)”, a bittersweet retro-sounding French cabaret ode to love gone wrong (is there any other kind of French cabaret song?) And the evening continued with a charming set of music from a wide spectrum of
sources that continued to showcase their remarkable versatility, both instrumentally and as a group: songs from Scotland, the UK, more France…and throughout, the one thing I kept thinking was ‘is there anything they can’t play?‘ Someone else in the audience got to that very question before me near the end of the set. It was directed at Barbara, who, for the 5th or 6th time since the set started, had yet again changed wind instruments between songs. Her answer? “yes – the piano”‘. It’s not something we’re likely to miss.
This group makes a lot of music, and even if you have some of their previous individual recordings you owe it to yourself to get this one and give it a listen to hear what a beautiful blend they make as a threesome.
My fave track opens the disc. ‘Donna Lombarda‘ is sung in Italian, but not a thing is lost in the musical translation here. The one-liner description of it in the notes says: ‘a song about love in a wine cellar’.
“Twist of the Wrist” – THAT’S the way to warm up a Vermont winter evening!
[For info about the group and the new recording, it’s Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org]