Release Date: November 6, 2013
Independent label; 10 Tracks
Review by: Lee Fraser
Sherman Downey & the Ambiguous Case give fans of their live show a gift of enhanced arrangements and inspired instrumentation.
I’ve always been of the opinion that there are two distinct aspects to being a musician: the live show and the recording. Many bands succeed at one or the other, but not both, leaving you disappointed when you finally get out to see them live, or when you give the latest release a listen. Truly talented musicians recognize these two aspects of their existence and make concerted efforts to excel at both.
The live shows put on by Sherman and his band are high energy and engaging. The five band members play the core instruments of the group with fluid ease and a fun-loving spirit. Andrew’s banjo is prominent on every song and Bill hams it up with crowd, playing trombone, accordion and kazoo. There’s a lot of shouts and singing along. It’s a party.
On their second album, “The Sun in Your Eyes”, many crowd favourites take on an extra complexity with horns, string arrangements and added instruments. There’s organ, pedal steel and piano, many of which are used to provide a country feel here or southern rock inspiration there. But it’s all very familiar and comfortable. Just …. better. The band has a fine ear for enhancements that fill out the listening experience without losing the essence of the song.
The band is currently on a tour of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. Check their web site for dates and be sure to catch them while they’re still hosting parties in small venues. They play Toronto’s Dakota Tavern on March 5.