Wendy DeWitt with Kirk Harwood review…November 7, 2015…

WENDY DEWITT WITH KIRK HARWOOD

GETAWAY

WETTE MUSIC  WM 5809

SONOMA COUNTY–TREAT A WOMAN–SOMETIMES I WONDER–BUILT TO LAST–FEEL SO BAD–29 WAYS–FOLKS LIKE YOU–I WANT TO BELIEVE YOU–NEVER BE TOO MUCH–TROUBLE–EVERYBODY’S CRYING FOR SOMETHING

Wendy DeWitt is a powerhouse piano player, who, along with jazz-trained drummer Kirk Harwood, have been finalists in the IBC, and have two regional wins on their resume’.  They have just released a fine debut set of piano-heavy blues entitled “Getaway,” featuring eight originals and three covers, and also features the guitar stylings of Chicago legend Steve Freund.

This party starts off on a Mardi Gras note, with the New Orleans-styled grooves of Wendy’s autobiography of sorts, as she pounds out the boogie in the story of “Sonoma County, that’s where I’m from, up ole Highway 101.”  She revisits that boogie shuffle a little later on with a nice read of Willie Dixon’s “29 Ways just to make it to my baby’s door,” with Steve’s guitar playing perfect call-and-response licks.

Wendy and Kirk are featured in a playful, loping duet of one of Steve’s originals, “good things come to Folks Like You,” with a stuttering solo from Steve at the break.  “I Want To Believe You” is a fine slow-blueser, and she closes the set with a nod to the troubles in today’s society—“there’s war in the east, and half the world needs shoes, and Everybody’s Crying About Something.”

We had two favorites, too, and they are vastly different, showing Wendy and Kirk’s unique versatility.  First up is a frenzied shot of old-school boogie-woogie as Wendy (and her mighty left hand) realize that “Trouble is out to get me!”  At the opposite end of the spectrum is “Sometimes I Wonder,” a classic tale of a lover who “lied and cheated and didn’t even blink an eye.”  The cool thing is that it’s just Wendy’s vocal and piano, with Kirk’s percussion following a “marching” beat.

Wendy DeWitt and Kirk Harwood can hold their own with anybody in contemporary blues, and it’s no surprise that they have fared so well at the IBC and other competitions.  “Getaway” is a fine beginning for them!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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