Matchedash Parish – Saturday Night
Make It Real Records
11 songs time – 53:05
The initial release of this grand amalgamation of talent was conceived by Juno award-winning producer-keyboard wizard-singer-songwriter Lance Anderson to spotlight his discovery of Kitchener phenom Matt Weidinger, a song writer-singer-multi instrumentalist. The band’s name is derived from the Indigenous people’s word Matchedash meaning swampy land and the Louisiana term for county parish, hence Swampy Parish. The group of musicians and singers here were hand picked by the two men. They come with a variety of pedigrees. Among them are William Sperandei who played trumpet with Harry Connick Jr., Jill Zaden who sang background with Janet Jackson for ten years and Shamakah Ali who drummed behind Al Green.
The specter of The Band presides over much of the music herein, particularly the styling’s of Richard Manuel and Levon Helm. It’s conceivable as four-fifths of The Band were Canadians. The virtual cacophony of intertwining instruments and voices are artfully arranged and produced to maximum effect. The overall result is a rich gathering of rustic roots music.
Right from the onset The Band inspiration comes into play with an obvious nod to Richard Manuel’s vocal bent courtesy of Matt Weidinger and the Garth Hudson-like organ meanderings of Lance Anderson on “When It Rains”. Written as a letter to Matt’s grand children, “Where There Is Love” conjures up images of a divine heavenly band with it’s mass backing vocal contingent, luscious horn melodies, slide guitar and percussion. The influence of The Band’s Levon Helm vocal delivery and mandolin and Garth Hudson’s accordion shows up on “St. John’s Matchedash Parrish Hall”, an uplifting ode to church hall dances in days of yore.
Quisha Wint steps out for the lead vocal on the gospel-y “God Gave You Hands” that features punchy horns, Wurlitzer electric piano and zippy percussion. The sole cover tune The Beatles’ “Lady Madonna” attains the feeling of a gospel tent revival meeting as the horn section and backing vocalists punctuate Matt’s soulful vocal. The yearning for a brighter road ahead is the sentiment of Matt’s impassioned vocal on “Afraid”. It also includes some nifty slide guitar.
Lance takes lead vocal and keyboard chores on the funky clavinet-organ driven “Not Sold On Getting Old”. Lance emotes again on “Hopeless Romantic”, a ballad about missing a loved one while away. I detect a vague touch of Van “The Man” Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey” on this one. An instrumental save for the backing vocalists repeating the title over and over, “Congo Strut” achieves a reptilian atmosphere, not to mention a compelling trumpet solo by William Sperandei and Lance’s smooth keyboard styling’s as well as pervasive percussion ramblings.
“Nothing To Say” laments the human struggles we all face via Matt’s dramatic voicing. Lance contributes the vocal to the closer “This Love Can’t Last”. The band goes out on this joyous song about living in the moment and not worrying when people say love won’t last.
Where does one begin to describe a seamless musical event such as this one without a single misstep or errant note? We just thank the muse that inspires an event like this, a homogenous blending of root music elements.