The Rounders – Wish I Had You
Wish I Had You combines country and urban blues, roots-based indie rock, and traditional country as only the Rounders can: brilliantly and in a completely original way. "If we had a band motto, I think it would be, 'We like to make old music sound new and new music sound old.'"
1. God Knows I'm Trying - 3:54 2. Wish I Had You - 4:23 3. My Getaway - 3:39 4. You Know Better Than That - 5:05 5. Through No Fault of My Own - 6:05 6. Oh, My Dear Mind - 3:43 7. When It's Bad - 3:15 8. Oh Why - 4:16 9. Let Me Talk at You - 3:55 10. Wait For Me - 4:19 11. Leave My Trunk Behind - 3:19 12. It Wasn't My Baby - 3:29 13. Goodbye, George - 4:04
Brian Whitten (vocals) , Dustin Arbuckle (harmonica, vocals) , Michael Stone (guitar) , Ryan Taylor (guitar) , Dave Spindle (bass, guitar) , Stu Williamson (drums) , Trafton Barney (backing vocals)
1. Living Blues
"Wish I Had You is a remarkable record that defies categorization and a fine testament to the exciting new directions the blues can go in."
2. No Depression
"This Oklahoma City quintet definitely has its own take on American roots music, twangy and country-flavored but rooted more in blues, as if Creedence has been reincarnated as a more bluesy version of its old self. The guitars of Ryan Taylor and Michael Stone speak together in a singular voice - jagged and ringing, full of rich harmonies and crystalline echo, even toying with Butterfield/Bloomfield "east-west" modalities on "You Know Better Than That." The interplay between them and Brian Whitten's fluid, fevered baritone is fresh and spontaneous-sounding even if it's doubtless been carefully worked out. "
"Though rooted in traditional blues structures and affectations (different members have cited R.L. Burnside as a predominant influence), the sound that comes through the speakers borrows equally from roots music and alt-country. Just because this sounds familiar doesn't mean it's not unique."
"Not unlike Treat Her Right two decades ago and the Black Keys these days, this five-piece Oklahoma City-based band investigates the intersection of blues and rock with confidence on its third - but first widely distributed - album. The group keeps a moderate emotional temperature throughout the 13-song program, averse to trumping up contrived drama or recycling stale ideas. Guitarist Ryan Taylor turns a clear eye on the songwriting process, coming up with one strong melody after another and lyrics that don't contradict his musical intelligence."
5. AllMusic - Hal Horowitz
Despite its appearance on the blues-based Blind Pig label, one look at the somewhat avant-garde cover art that adorns this release should indicate this is not your typical blues combo. The Oklahoma based quintet have been at it since 2000 and have two previous albums, but this is their first available nationally. The music is Delta blues based, but bolstered by an edgy electric attack that adds sturdy rock and a slight country twang to the equation. A guest harmonica player on a few tracks highlights a heavier swamp feel that also pervades the attack. Those who remember Treat Her Right will notice similarities as the Rounders push outside the traditional blues envelope into a kind of stripped down, riff based, spooky boogie driven by repeated licks. The Fat Possum stable seems to be a touchstone, along with a connection to some of the material from the North Mississippi Allstars and even Creedence Clearwater Revival. Once the template is set though, there are few variations and by the time the fifty-plus-minute disc is in its home stretch; it seems the band has run dry of fresh ideas. Still, there is plenty here to enjoy, and once the two guitars nail a groove and the drums set up a rather rudimentary, even primitive backbeat the group is powered by its own rather unique vibe. The Rounders dip into a subtle '70s gospel influenced Southern rock on "You Know Better Than That" and bring the country twang to "Oh, My Dear Mind." But it's on the stomping, eerie "When It's Bad" and the tough twin guitar attack of "Let Me Talk at You" where the atmosphere is thick with a deep blues mojo that obliquely references the genre in a slight Gov't Mule style. The five piece is definitely onto something, even if they don't quite consistently nail it on this album. Wish I Had You shows the promise of a creative and talented band not content to color within the established guidelines of blues or rock.