It’s always a pleasure covering English bands. It must be childhood memories of the Beatles. Recently, I stumbled on a cool eight-piece band from Norfolk, UK called The Vagaband. Releasing their newest LP, Medicine for the Soul, this British band of jazz, blues, rock and country genres caught my attention quickly. From a pedal steel guitar to flugelhorn and flute arrangements, these seasoned players are heading upward.
Opening with a cool intro, “Top of the Morning” leads us into the second track, “Lifted.” Dan Reynolds on percussion and Ali Houiellebecq on flute offer an impressive jazz adaptation. The third track, “Black Sheep,” my pick as a lead-in from the intro track, gives listeners an up-tempo bluegrass beat with a cool vocal from Jose McGill.
The fourth track, “The Whistling Song,” is a favorite of mine. Quentin Tarantino is filming “Kill Bill 3.” This piece is ideal for his movie. To add, the delta blues guitar gives the piece a raw Mississippi sound. Another number that catches my attention is “Gabrielle.” Joe “The Bow” Wright on fiddle and Tristan Roche on bass are sublime. Also, “Gabrielle” has attention getting lyrics, “Time to dance, time to die, time to love, time to cry.” “A time to mend our wicked ways.” Can’t help thinking of the 1960s song, “Turn Turn Turn.”
Finally, the album title track, “Medicine for the Soul,” is a country tune with steel guitar, fiddle, with added flute. The number includes excellent brass that completes the track. But I noticed the tune moving into different genres. The intro is country, moves into a rock/jazz fusion, then coming full circle to country.
Medicine For The Soul is the band’s second album since 2012. For The Vagaband the album has produced sweet success. The Alternate Root premiered the piece, “Lifted,” as their top ten songs of the week for January 31, 2015. What is important, The Vagaband can reproduce live what we hear on vinyl and cd. Watching the band on YouTube gives me the impression the lads are a high-energy band. As the band states, we are “a well-oiled touring act.” As we wait for a USA tour, we can enjoy their music through various media. One note, check out “The Whistling Song” video. It’s well produced, creative, and funny. I love the ending.
I’m JR Miller with High Note Reviews, and the band is The Vagaband having Medicine For The Soul