Toronto’s Bywater Call were formed initially by vocalist Meghan Parnell and guitarist Dave Barnes in 2017, gradually building into the seven-piece in which they operate today, comprising also of Bruce McCarthy on drums, Mike Meusel on bass, Alan Zemaitis on keys, Stephen Dyte on trumpet and Julian Nalli on sax.
Taking their songs best described as a cool blend of Blues, Rock and Soul on the live circuit in Canada and Europe, prior to releasing them as their self-titled debut album at the end of last year, has served them well. Now, imagine crossing Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt’s voice - well that’s where singer Meghan’s heart and tone live.
Ok, lets spin the disc! ‘Arizona’ an uplifting up-tempo number in sound, if not in lyric, opens its doors with an underbelly of Gospel Soul. ’Forgive’ jumps at you in out and out ‘Stax Records’ sixties Soul style, keeping the brass section busy, as does the following track ‘Talking Backwards’.
Next up is ‘Bring Me Down’, a Bluesy organ laden ballad, which highlights all the band member’s individual talents at various points during its seven-minute transition. ’Nightmare’, despite the title, is actually a smooth groover, before we shift gear in a funky Blues direction with ‘Over & Over’. Meanwhile, ’Hometown’ falls right into the aforementioned Ms. Raitt’s territory of a Blues ballad, and works well as a prelude to the song of the album.
Based on the fact that today’s human being has an overloaded choice of music to sample and a shorter attention span, I would have positioned ‘Silver Lining’ at least at number three in the playing order. Suffice to say that the British IBBA had ‘Bywater Call’ at number one in their playlist chart at the end of March and this particular tune was the top choice in their DJ’s play-listing.
The soulful despair of ‘Walk On By’ and the heartfelt ‘Swing Low’ - that is cleverly built in its arrangement - end this excellent collection of well-crafted songs. European dates scheduled for early May will no doubt be re-arranged, so let’s hope they start to include the UK on their tour list. That’s an order Canada! Remember we saved you guys from becoming Americans..............