Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" means exactly what you think it means. For the full story behind the title, you should catch a show and ask the band. They love to tell the tale. Following up the huge critical and commercial success of 2006's release "Dealin' Craic" was no small task, but these hardworking midwesterners were not only up to the challenge, they have surpassed expectations. Fans of the band will be pleasantly surprised with the new direction the band has taken. The Sandcarvers have embraced a lot more of the rock half of the "Celtic Rock" label. This is thanks to the new personnel who have joined the band since "Dealin' Craic" was released. Chris Trotier, on bass guitar, really knows how to lay down the grooves that keep the music flowing. Tony Keller, on drums, brings ferociousness to the rhythm section that is impossible to ignore. Jason Dove, on electric guitar, provides the last piece of the puzzle with the chops and the energy possessed by the finest lead guitarists around. Combined, these three have completely transformed the band from where they were three years ago to the group that plays on this release. The core of the band has not changed and that is what will bring longtime fans back for more of what they already love about The Sandcarvers. A.J. Laird (vocals and percussion), Jeffrey Miller (guitars and vocals) and Raven (recorders, keyboards, bassoon, vocals) continue the songwriting and musicianship that put the band in high demand all around the world. Thanks to their infamous, high-energy performances, The Sandcarvers are now considered one of the best Celtic Rock bands in the world, and "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" will help seal the deal for those who are unable to catch them live. Tracks: "Cryin' Loud" This booming Celtic Rock anthem is a great start to the CD, as well as a lot of their live shows. Inspired by Jeffrey Miller's train ride home to Michigan for the holidays, this tune also features a hint of the man in black, Johnny Cash. "Truth Be Told" is proof alone of the new direction the band is heading in. This is Celtic Rock at it's most intense. Blazing electric guitars and driving rhythms have made this a fan and critical favorite. Dealing with being done wrong by women at every stage in life, this is a song most men can relate to. "Girls of the Clare" This is a fun, almost jazzy, take on the genre that, in the beginning, suggests a hint of mystery but then delves right into the classic Celtic form. You many recognize the guitar solo in the middle as being "Rosin the Bow," a double entendre if ever there was one. "Rowdy's Pub" Get ready to hear this one on the jukebox of just about any Irish pub you can think of. This will be the theme song for rowdy pubs all over the world for many years to come. High energy rhythm and strong harmonies have made this a most-requested favorite. "Star of the County Down" Nobody turns an old traditional Irish song on it's ear and truly makes it their own like The Sandcarvers and this is a perfect example. The first part is the lovely traditional melody played masterfully by Raven on recorder but then it kicks into high gear with the band's own rocking arrangement. "(Staring at the) Backroom (of the Ale House on a Friday night)" A date gone wrong is always great fodder for a song, and Jeffrey took full advantage of that very situation in this tale of loneliness and longing on the city streets of Milwaukee. This beautiful waltz has been featured in the band's shows as well as radio for years and has become one of their signature songs. "Boffyflow and Spike" Written by none other than Van Morrison in 1984, this instrumental has become a bright spotlight moment for some of the members in the band. Raven gets to strut her stuff on the bassoon, while Jason gets to riff on the melody with his own feel and skill and Chris gets to funk it out on the bass. Then they bring it all back together with each instrument truly complimenting the others and melding together into one big tapestry of sound. A real treat for the ears. "The Night Before" To hear the band tell it, this story song is 100% truth. The lyrics may not make a lot of sense to some at first until you realize that these stories of the drama that follows the band on the road all really happened. It also helps to think about your own hazy experiences after an evening of partying at the pub and not quite knowing what happened or why. Fortunately for the band, and their fans, the sober members take good notes and have turned a lot of funny memories into a great song. "Primrose Path" Another hard rocking tale of a difficult relationship. It really makes you wonder if any of these people are capable of sustaining a successful partnership with the opposite sex. Sure makes for some great songwriting, though. Check out the middle section, which takes you 180 degrees from where you started and then slams you back for the end. A great song for driving with the windows down and the radio up. "John Barleycorn Must Die" A new take on an old tale, this isn't your father's John Barleycorn. Once just done for kicks at live shows, the band turned this classic folk tale into a sonic masterpiece. "Minstrels and Troubadours" Set at a pub in Kilkenny, this timeless story of the life of a traveling musician is set to a beautiful waltz. The lyrics vividly speak to the trials and tribulations of a young man who's only dream is to travel the world and share his music with people all over the world, one pub at a time. "Reilly's Daughter" This traditional drinking song is one of the band's favorites and it was fitting to put it on the album. It's short and sweet and to the point but you will be humming it forever. Take careful note of how many syllables are sung in each verse on one breath. Not bad for a stocky asthmatic. "Welcome Inside" It wouldn't be a Sandcarver album without something out of left field and this track is just the ticket. A tropical dance track that you just can't sit still for. Your hips will be shaking in no time. "Old Dun Cow" What a great way to end the album. This new take on the old story of a pub burning to the ground with people in the basement drinking all they can until it's too late is fitting for a band who's right at home in any Irish Pub. Great harmonies and nice use of the instrumental "Gravel Walk" in the bridge section.