A million times? A billion? How many times has it been asked what makes a great song? Critics, fans and musicians have debated this question for years over many a late night cocktail. Yet the answer seems to always stay just out of reach. As soon as one decides that it is the rhythm, or the melody, or the lyric, along come ten other examples that contradict the parameters of the last. A curious note must also be made about some of the songwriters that we often put in that box labeled 'genius.' They will often say that they don't have the foggiest idea either. So perhaps we should all just order another cocktail and let it be as mysterious as it wants to be. Lately a band from the West Coast (San Francisco to be exact) has been making a sound on the scene that is steeped in the idea of finding the perfect song. These songs are written, performed, and recorded by four people who enjoy letting the songs be what they want to be. With this in mind, it makes it easier for Small Wonder to put their efforts into being Small Wonder. Fronted by the experienced and talented Johanna Keith, the band started as a home studio project with bassist Kiley Henner. After years of playing clubs and touring, the duo decided it was time to just focus on songwriting while learning the skills involved in serious home recording. 'The idea for a song,' says Kiley, 'can come from so many different places. It's best not to force it.' Johanna agrees, 'I have tons of songs that will never see the light of day. The point is to keep writing whenever the mood hits you. Just write and keep working.' Some of the newly recorded tunes soon found their way onto a couple of local compilations and kids on the scene were asking for more. It was time to add some new members. Guitarist Eben Henner has been playing with his brother and in other bands for years. His back-water jangle lends itself well to songs like Melodies of Maladies while his sense of space on Weather Report is an example of letting the mood of a song be in command. He adds to songs what is needed and nothing more; be it a dash of Wilco here, or a pinch of The Who over there. Drummer Jimmy Monack was asked to sit-in with Small Wonder for the Fortune Record's Fortune Cookies release party. While notoriously non-committal, he suddenly found himself badgering Kiley and Johanna about recording. 'I feel that this is the band I've waited for,' he says. 'We all seem to come from the same school of thought in terms of songwriting.' They soon got to work recording new songs at their aptly named Small Sound Studios. The resulting recordings were pressed onto a great four-song CD titled Happy To Be Small. It is a perfect showcase of the band's unique blend of songcraft, energy, feel and style. Clearly Small Wonder have hit their stride with this latest release from the Small Sound Studio entitled?and in between. The four song CD is a big step forward for Small Wonder and demonstrates the band's growing songwriting and recording skills. Comparisons have been made to Kristin Hersh, Paul Westerberg, R.E.M., and Bettie Serveert. This is all well and good, but they just hope that after listening to this CD you will think they sound exactly like Small Wonder. Enjoy.