SUNDAY WILDE plays the Cameron House on January 17, and Gate 403 on January 20. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Award-winning Canadian blues singer Sunday Wilde recorded her fourth album in an isolated hunting cabin in northern Ontario, and the restrictions that came with that might be the reason it's so captivating. So many blues and country artists boast about recording live off the floor with few overdubs, but rarely do the results make you genuinely feel, as you do here, like you're witnessing a unique moment in time.
The songs focus squarely on Wilde's rich rockabilly-influenced hollering and honky-tonk piano playing, with only very minimal embellishments. Sure, there's some guitar, upright bass, accordion, violin and an old metal mailbox that serves as a drum, but they're used so sparingly that most modern roots music sounds glossy and overproduced by comparison.
Some listeners might find the quavering, brassy vocals a bit too theatrical and flamboyant. However, when everything else is so artfully restrained, it's nice to hear the passion bubbling over.
Top track: I Guess I Didn't Hear You Right