The Wayside is a fivesome from Chicago that has been together for a fairly good while. Fronted by husband and wife John and Michelle Thompson, they have played with highly notable acts such as Sixpence None the Richer, Steve Taylor, Vigilantes of Love and Burlap to Cashmere as well as touring with amazing up and comers Jacobstone. Farm is their latest release on True Tunes Records.
Diversity is pretty much what The Wayside is about, but in their miscellany they don't strive too far away from their own tastes. From the opening of "See You," John Thompson vocally shows a mix of Bruce Springsteen and Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers/ Bob Dylan's son) while "Gone" brings one bluesy piano bar gem. "So Long" adds the twang of a country guitar with Michelle Thompson evocating Alison Krause as "From Up Here" is not just a great country song; it is a great song all together; a true radio classic that missed the boat. "Summer Song" has a gorgeous twang whereas "I'm Not Askin'" brings a happy-go-lucky country two-step classic. Ending is "Echo Of A Name" which quite possibly stands near the likes of Ms. Dolly Pardon.
When The Wayside hits, they hit big. Beautifully odd lyrics coupled with inviting vocals and delightful guitars; make their hits pure smashes. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish The Wayside would stick with country music. There's something here, and it's something that looks to be incredibly special. On another note, I had the pleasure of receiving rough mixes of some new Wayside tracks. Lyrically, the band has shaped words that were already striking to begin with while musically; things are better non-country-wise yet still literally amazing and special for that Southern sound. We'll just have to wait and see.- Review date: 8/1/02, written by Blake Garris
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