Sweet Megg & The Wayfarers
-Music Review by Diana Mumford–
Time is an illusion. Sweet Megg & The Wayfarers sound as though they were plucked from a smoke-filled Prohibition-era speakeasy, rather than recently formed on the New York City music scene. A mutual love of jazz has brought this group together. The band members draw inspiration from Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, as well as other classic and modern jazz artists, melding styles to establish their own, improvised sound.
Ever since her first visit to Mona’s, a New York City bar that often hosts jazz performances, Sweet Megg, (Megg Farrell), the band’s lead vocalist, has assumed a jazz personality. Her passion for warm brass tunes complimented by folksy strings is evident not only in her singing, but in her poetic bearing. “Jazz is relatable, it’s fun, and it’s the blues,” says Sweet Megg. “No way around it. That’s what I love.” Singing solo, she lets her smoky voice loose, lighting moody lyrics with balanced cheer and an element of yearning.
Rounding out the rest of the quartet is Brandon Vetrano on guitar, Abe Pollack on upright bass, and Ryan Weisheit on saxophone. The band’s newest album, Please Tell Me Everyone’s In Love, also features the talented Rob Edwards on trombone.
Sweet Megg & The Wayfarers most performed songs on the album include I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll and (Up A) Lazy River. Here, Sweet Megg’s deep, effortless voice shines, conjuring complicated visions. Jelly Roll is an upbeat song about rebuffing potential suitors. The song opens with a trumpet and trombone playing back and forth in the forefront while Pollack plucks the bass in the background. “I hate to say it, but I think I’ll have to turn you down,” Sweet Megg growls. The variety of instrumental melodies become entwined throughout the number, seamlessly connecting scenes of refusal. Meanwhile, Sweet Megg’s playful vocals triumph, creating a robust, toe-tapping sound.
In Lazy River, the unhurried instrumentals and Sweet Megg’s gradually rising and falling pitch make the listener feel as if he or she is actually floating up river with a full band in tow. According to Sweet Megg, Lazy River is “bluesy and simple, yet it bounces up and down and all around, landing exactly where it should.” The escapist feelings created by the meandering notes and Sweet Megg’s crooning; “throw away your troubles,” are as relatable today as when the song was first written in 1930.
Inspired restless; here are warm, spiced flavors for the winter, and summer cocktails served up sweet. Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers have a sound that resonates. You’ll have the sense of misplaced memories and nostalgia dancing on the tip of your finger. Take a spin, forgetfulness keeps you awake. This, my friends, is jazz. Unstoppable urges rising up your arms and legs, tiptoeing up and down your torso and, settling in your chest cavity before you sigh relief.
So stay tuned to SweetMegg & the Wayfarers. Their upcoming full-length album will be released in 2015, featuring new covers of jazz age and depression era classics as well as more original content. Can’t get enough of Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers? If you live in New York, catch Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers perform live. The band will be playing regularly at “Le Fanfare” in Greenpoint Brooklyn and other popular joints around town. Be sure to follow Sweet Megg and the Wayfarers on Facebook and check out their website to hear a selection of tracks. You can also book your own show by contacting SweetMeggsJazz@gmail.com.
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