Mixing the acoustic-electric mellow rock and Americana sounds, similar to what The Cowboy Junkies are known for, the Santa Cruz based band Simply Put, paired up with singer/songwriter and classically trained vocalist Lauren Wahl, to release their five-song EP entitled Hello, Baby this past March. All the songs were originally written by Wahl. Members of Simply Put include Mariah Roberts on fiddle and vocals, Ryan Navarolli on sax, Zach Lathum on bass and Zen Perry on drums. The band has been busy playing various gigs in Santz Cruz, San Francisco and Seattle.
The opener “Walk on Water” is tight, crisp and clean in its production, and musically it is mellow, soulful, rich and beautiful. “Muse” feels like it has a more free-form style. Wahl’s vocals really shine beautifully on this one for sure. The instrumentation overall is really unique too – keys are a little jazzy and retro, fiddle soothing yet chilling, drums play a brushing, shuffling beat and the melody is absolutely gorgeous.
“Just Like Me” starts off with straight acoustic guitar, fiddle and the drums and skips along with a somewhat faster mellow rock tempo. Additional piano with a few abrupt breaks among the verses made for a great arrangement. Wahl’s vocals on “Little Sister” sounds a bit like she’s channeling Margo Timmins from Cowboy Junkies, but still, there is something musically about this song, and the band as a whole, that I just couldn’t make any more comparisons beyond that.
Finally, the title track “Hello, Baby” swaggers along with a sultry, bluesy beat that’s graciously moody with just the right amount of lightness to pick you back up onto the dance floor. A song that’s not on the EP, but a great live version on YouTube of “Don’t Go Too Far” has a little old school feel to it and a haunting gypsy folkish energy – I’d recommend watching it. Overall, Lauren Wahl and Simply Put has something special going on and I certainly could hear it in the band’s chemistry and with their live video recordings on YouTube.
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