Album Reviews

Shotgun Wedding

South of Somewhere

Artist:     Shotgun Wedding

Album:     South of Somewhere

Label:     SWAG Records

Release Date:     02/18/2016


Formed in Brooklyn, Shotgun Wedding is a five-piece alt-americana country band comprised of professionally accomplished musicians. Dennis DelGaudio (guitar/vocals) and Wade Preston (piano/vocals) both played in Billy Joel’s band for years, and both were instrumental in bringing the Broadway production Movin’ Out to life. Joel was so impressed with Preston’s keyboard work that he even requested Preston stand in for him during the months Joel had rehearsals for Last Play at Shea concerts. Andy Cichon, (bass/vocals) another family member of the Billy Joel band, has also appeared on stage with the likes of Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey of The Who, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Chuck Burgi (drums) has played with big names like Bon Jovi and Meatloaf; his classic use of snare on the ‘two and four’ captures that rhythmic charm of southern rock ‘n’ roll. Last but certainly not least is Catherine Porter. Though she was the final member to join the group, the boys were immediately impressed with the range of her voice. Whether it’s keeping up with the speed with which DelGaudio sings his lyrics in playful harmonies, crooning us to sleep with sultry tones in “Hurtin’ Songs,” or opening up in “Ain’t Gonna Break My Heart” with raunchy grunts and rich jazz flavors, Porter’s voice contributes deep soul to this urban country group.

So why is a band from Brooklyn writing country music? Dennis remarks, “We come from the suburbs and big cities so there’s an immediacy to our sound. But one sure thing we share with country is the earnestness of our stories. Our everyday life is life in the city and contains the bustle of that–that’s what we write about.”

They have incorporated classic dialogues found in country songs like the ‘everyday man and woman’ and ‘the daily struggle’ in their latest album, South of Somewhere. “Footsteps Away” takes the listener on a roller coaster ride through the accessible urban cosmopolitan life in the Big Apple that attracts people from all over the world to post up there.

“Do a turn left, do a turn right, what do I feel like doing tonight?
Where do I eat? Who do I see? It’s all good to me
Do I hear jazz? Do I hear blues? Sometimes it’s hard to choose
Should it be Gershwin or Bach, honky tonking at the dock?

Stacked up 100 stories high in this city by the sea
Decisions, decisions flip a coin and see…”

The chorus permits you to dream, “It’s all just footsteps away!”

“Hurtin’ Songs” has that classic balladic piano and solo vocal introduction much like, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” It’s a song about moving on from hopeless love to dealing with the heartache of heartbreak. As a gal in her ‘20s, I can relate to these feelings of torment and heartache. Catherine Porter’s hypnotic repetition of “no more no (hurtin’ songs)” speaks to the weariness the heart endures and the need to move on.

“‘Cause I’m moving on now
I got much better things to do
Than waste my time making and breaking
My heart over someone like you

I’m tired of hurtin’ songs, the ones where pain belongs…
You can’t right every wrong with hurtin’ songs”

The self-titled track of the album advocates for the masses. You don’t have to be from the South to write or appreciate country music. You can live in a big urban city or a rural no name town, but Shotgun Wedding knows we’re all connected through the dialogue of our daily lives.

“We’re from the south, the south of somewhere
City, country, common ground
I’m from the south, the south of somewhere, I live up north on the south side of town”

Need more shotgun weddings in your life? Check out Shotgun Wedding play songs off of their new album South of Somewhere at their free show at Rockwood Music Hall on December 5th, 2016! (Tickets here)

-Julia Egan

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