CD Review: Vaudeville Etiquette – Debutantes & Dealers

Debutantes & Dealers coverSo what happens when you are on a small budget and you attract the attention of a legendary Seattle musician? And he offers to produce your CD? You pinch yourself that’s what. And then you get to work.

Debutantes & Dealers  was originally supposed to be two EPs, one called Debutantes and the next one would be called Dealers. So Seattle folk-rock band Vaudeville Etiquette put out the first one, releasing it in 2013 to a sold out crowd at the Tractor. The band made a great impression on said legendary musician who just so happened to be Barrett Martin(Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Walking Papers). Martin made an offer to produce what would turn out to be the debut album and he brought along his old buddy Jack Endino with his other-worldly mixing skills. Instead of releasing the rumored second EP the band  went straight into recording the full length album and these two Seattle music luminaries worked their magic. Barrett even shows up on a few tracks playing vibes and percussion.

“Barrett Martin has such strong vision and endurance. He has this almost mystical ability to actualize the sonic landscapes he dreams up in his head and articulate them in such a concise way.” says Lynn. “He makes a suggestion and it most always leaves you thinking, ‘Yes, that’s absolutely what I needed to hear.’ It’s incredible.”

The title for the album was taken from a line in their song “F. Scott” written by Lynn in which she fantasizes about her love for author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Debutantes & Dealers is packed full of harmonies and haunting vocals that seem to match the name of the band and the name of the album on a magical level. The album starts right out of the gate with what you can expect for the rest of the journey,  “Blood & Bone” is a harmonic thrill-ride driving home the ideas of familial values and the rebellious nature in most of us. Track three, “Devil’s Daughter”, sounds like it was born somewhere in a juke joint or in a roadhouse in the deep south on a cotton field lined portion along Highway 61. The song builds into a frenetic, foot-stomping, hand-clapping climax and leaves the listener reaching for his or her wallet to put money in the church collection plate.

“There is so much community and collaboration on this album,” says Lynn. “We wanted to incorporate and embrace as many of our friends and their talents as we could. It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to a music community that took us under their wing. It’s a dedication to our homecoming.”

You know it’s a great album when it’s difficult to pick a favorite but “Abilene” sure is a beautiful song  and it conjures up memories of an amazing Louisiana musician, Anders Osborne and his ability to wrap words around a beautiful melody, while letting both of them play off of each other in a game of sonic cat & mouse. “Enemy Lines” is a great duet showcasing the vocal prowess of Tayler Lynn & Bradley Laina with some well placed strings from Andrew Joslyn and the Passenger String Quartet, whom they managed to get in the studio in between their tour with Macklemore. Track 11 “Six Feet Deep” is a swinging tune that summons the ghosts of the 4o’s and that song would have worked just as well in that decade as it does today.

Front to back this album this album is outstanding and it’s clear that Martin knew what he had when he heard them last May at the Tractor show. Each song is a set up for the next. The production is of course top-shelf and the musicianship through is tight and in everyone is in the pocket.  Having Endino’s ear on this probably didn’t hurt either as there’s absolutely no flaws.   Highly recommended to pick this one up.

Vaudeville Etiquette is Tayler Lynn, Bradley Laina, Matt Teske, Sander Vinberg, & Bryce Gourley.

Track listing:

1. Blood & Bone
2. Pick Me Up
3. Devil’s Daughter
4. Rose & Ivy
5. Red Harvest Moon
6. What Better Time
7. Clara Bow
8. Abilene
9. Oh
10. Enemy Lines
11. Six Feet Deep
12. Down To The Alley
Although not listed on the CD, the final song(13) is a secret song titled “Bathtub Gin.”

Pre-Order Debutantes & Dealers on itunes

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