P.O. Box 163
Buffalo, NY 14215-0163
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by David Schultz
Is it possible for a pair of women from Buffalo, New York to sound like they've been playing their fresh brand of folk/blues/roots/country/rockabilly/swing for the last tewnty years on the Austin music scene? The answer is yes, if these ladies are the Jazzabels. With only their third release, Skyway, the Jazzabels (Cathy Carfagna and Kilissa McGoldrick) continue the tradition of tight vocal harmonies and party music epitomized on their exceptional 1994 release Cafe All Day. The Jazzabels are beginning to expand their fanbase beyond a northeast U.S. following by attracting attention at the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Folk Alliance National Conference, and on the folk music list on the internet.
Skyway opens with Whole Lot of Rhythm and I Don't Want to Wait, spirited toe-tappers sure to be a hit at your next party. The clever Telephone intersperses snippets of push-buttons, ringing, busy signals, and automated-operator messages with lyrics. There's even a Robert-Johnson-style blues song (Little Bird), complete with Kilissa's entrancing playing of the lehka-ha (Cameroon bamboo flute).
Traveling songs make up a portion of Skyway. Kilissa straps on an electric guitar for the rockin' Drive, which could have been written by Carl Perkins himself. Fine acoustic guitar picking and pedal steel comprise the Jazzabel's take on Neil Young's 1981 Southern Pacific, sure to be a crowd-pleaser in concert.
Three of the slower songs on the album feature Cathy's accordion playing: Sweet Dream, Genie Called From Vegas, and Midnight Blue. Midnight Blue also is notable for Kilissa's jazzy saxaphone solo, sure to melt your heart.
The more technical aspects of this self-produced album also meet the highest standards. The sound is clean, allowing the duo's harmonies to be prominently displayed in the final mix, as rightly they should be. The acoustic guitar picking on Genie Called From Vegas and Southern Pacific also sounds superb. The instrumentation, while perhaps more than most folkie purists would like, could not be more tastefully and appropriately produced. Women this talented should be receiving much more accolades and national exposure. If you have Cafe All Day, then Skyway is the natural complement. If you don't have either, then rush out and get them---you're in a for real treat!
Edited by Kerry Dexter