Offbeat Magazine Wishing Well Review

wishing-well-coverHoney Island Swamp Band

Wishing Well
By David Kunian

In the years since the Honey Island Swamp Band released its first record, it has crossed the country and been the secret force behind swamp soulster Eric Lindell. Now it has released its second record, Wishing Well, a record that shows off its roadhouse-right rock ’n’ roll. Wishing Well splits its songs between their two main writers and guitarists, Aaron Wilkinson and Chris Mule. Both are good songwriters with tried, true, but not clichéd sentiments. Wilkinson pens a graceful turn of phrase telling the object of his desire that he’ll be at the “Dark End of the Bar” before a honky-tonk piano and easy slide guitar finish his thoughts. Wilkinson’s songs lean toward country rock in the vein of the Band, early Eagles, or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Mule’s song have a more rhythm and blues edge and a cynical, kiss-off sentiments as in “I can’t live the way / you’re killing me.” The band even adds some acoustic touches with Mule’s acoustic guitar and Wilkinson’s mandolin on “Decent Company” before the horns punch up some brassy trombone. Special guests such as Sean C. on harmonica and tight horn arrangements courtesy of Jimmy Carpenter help fill out the solid rhythms of bassist Sam Price and drummer Garland Paul and give a full mid-’70s sound to this fine record.