Avi Salloway and Celia Woodsmith have been making music together as Avi & Celia since 2005. The local duo has released two albums on their own and garnered a grassroots following by touring the Northeast and Canada. Now the duo has merged with drummer Jared Seabrook and bassist Ben Kogan to form a new band – Hey Mama. Their debut, self-titled album is due out December 1st.
Before I dove into Hey Mama, I revisited Avi & Celia’s 2008 release, Let It Rise. For me, the overall feel of the album is Americana or almost country welded with Celia’s strong bluesy vocals. It’s a great listen…with a lot of top-notch finger pickin’ and a stripped-down, clean sound.
Enter Hey Mama. This record is infused with rock, soul, and blues. It’s more electric, but doesn’t let go of that rootsy twang that is signature in Avi & Celia’s previous work. Celia’s voice is even stronger…she’s reminding me of Susan Tedeschi, Grace Potter, or at times, Bonnie Raitt on this album.
I love the variety on Hey Mama. “At The End Of The Day” starts things off with a rockin’ feel, followed by “Bull Woman Blues” which delivers exactly what it suggests. Hints of jazz can be found in “Sail On” and “Sweet Low Song” while the track “Red Signs, White Fences” is complete with horns and a lotta SOUL. The track that grabbed me the most was “Mountain Bones” which features The Tecumseh Strings and emits a real dream-like quality which I love. The tune is followed by a first-rate cover of the tune “Drivin’ Nails” (originally recorded by Jerry Irby).
This is Avi & Celia’s best material to date, and if you’ve heard them before, I think you’ll enjoy this new manifestation of the duo. Hey Mama is definitely one of those undiscovered bands you’ll be happy to discover…
Check them out LIVE as they celebrate their CD release:
Fri. December 4th – Bishops Lounge (Northampton, MA)
Sat. December 5th – Nectar’s (Burlington, VT)
Fri. December 11th – Lizard Lounge (Cambridge, MA)
Sat. December 12th – Lizard Lounge
Sat. December 19th – The Lebanon Opera House (Lebanon, NH)