I’ve heard all sorts of what could be called ‘weirdness of influence’ on this album. There are glimpses of Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, and even a bit of Nancy Sinatra in Sidewinder, as well as the easier to link country influences few of our readers will ever have heard – and that’s just the vocal. Carrie Shepard has a voice you’d leave your wife and eleven children for in a heartbeat. The tone of it is like a short of Jack Daniels drunk slowly and neat: warm the whole way down, before it shoots back up your spine to the pleasure centre of your brain, followed by a dark, liquid caramel chaser. She had me from the first note of Elevator to the last bar of Waltz. I’d drop everything and book a flight to Michigan just to become a full-time stalker if I knew it included a dental plan.
The guitar is at its haunting best in Vampire, an account of a sordid night with a deathly white stranger and the creeping hypnosis that gets you caught up in that sort of thing. Lawrence Daversa plays the blues along every nerve of your body, plucking, sliding, and vibrato-ing to a tingling climax – before you ask, yes, it feels odd to say that about another man, but the music is just inescapably sexy when combined with Carrie’s sultry voice. It takes two to tango, and this proves that, just maybe, that platitude can stretch across more than just dance and euphemism. – Jonathan Monahan, Puremzine – March 8th, 2015
It’s at times like this that you just want to get up and hug the band. On Thursday evening at O’Mara’s, a sort of Irish-themed restaurant in Berkley, Carrie Shepard and Lawrence Daversa of the Whiskey Charmers are pouring their hearts our on the mini-stage while, in front of them and separated by a partition wall, barely interested customers eat their chicken.
Of course, that’s par for the course if you take this sort of gig, and the two musicians are happy to just purr through their tunes. But still, as an onlooker, it seems like a waste. Just look up from your plate for a second, guys. Chew while you view. There’s something beautiful going on.
Much like fellow locals the Blueflowers, the Whiskey Charmers play poetic, mildly gothic folk rock. Daversa is skilled at allowing his guitar to compliment Shepard’s vocals, rather than overriding it. It’s a less-is-more philosophy which serves the band well, and it allows the songs to breathe.
Shepard’s singing has improved noticeably since we interviewed them about a year ago. As we said then, “The Whiskey Charmers truly create the aural equivalent of crying into a tumbler filled with bourbon, bemoaning a lost love. There’s no ice added.”
Shepard purrs through the tunes, and songs about drinking cannily come across as if they are about something far more romantic. That’s the trick, the humor, behind this music. Despite the fact that nobody else was listening, something beautiful happened at O’Mara’s, and it wasn’t (just) the drink selection.