|photo courtesy of Gigshotz by Stephen Bloch|
“I love it when a plan comes together.” This line, famously attributed to fictional character Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith (played by actor George Peppad) on the iconic ‘80’s television action/drama The A-Team, in many ways embodies the spirit of Milwaukee’s folk/country/rock band “Long Mama.” Comprised of a true “A-Team” of some of the midwest’s finest Americana musicians: Andrew Koening (electric guitar), Nick Lang (drums), Samuel Oden (upright bass) and Kat Wodtke (guitar and vocals), “Long Mama” is a band whose collective sound creates a beautiful tapestry of sonic storytelling.
Poor Pretender, Long Mama’s debut record is an album that sticks to the ribs and grows in the soul with each and every listen. Composed of 10 aurally unique tracks, Poor Pretender gives its listeners an adventure-laden narrative drawing on singer/songwriter Kat Wodtke’s travels and worldly experiences. With beautifully whimsical wordplay that would make a high school English teacher radiate with etymological joy, Wodtke draws her listeners into her emotions through her lyrics and gorgeously earnest vocal delivery. “This phoenix is drinking fire, holding court in the ashes,” a stand-out line from the band’s title track “Poor Pretender” exemplifies this sentiment.
Guitarist Andrew Koening’s work on Poor Pretender stands out and serves as a perfect compliment to Wodtke’s storytelling. Koening has honed his craft a lot in recent years. He seamlessly can go from a fast picking western swing style of playing on “Badlands Honeymoon,” to a full-out jam groove on “The Narrows,” (my personal favorite track on Poor Pretender), where his guitar work evokes the spirit of the late Jerry Garcia. Likewise, Nick Lang’s well nuanced percussion and Samuel Oden’s deep grooves on upright bass serve as a backbone for a band who have all the makings of a stellar midwestern Americana group for years to come. Seeing Long Mama perform live is something even more special as these four great musicians and people clearly love playing together and exude joy and energy from the stage.
|Photo courtesy of Gigshotz by Stephen Bloch|