While listening to American Gypsy by the New Jersey based quintet Gypsy Wig, I was transported to a world of lyrical landscapes. The eight songs were tracked live at Studio Radio 45 in Astoria, New York and I could feel the unique energy that happens when musicians record in the same room together. There’s a creative connection that soars on this album. Gypsy Wig takes you for a ride.
The tracks of American Gypsy are beautifully composed and the interplay of rhythms and melodies is bound to get listeners moving. The keystone of this album is the proficient musicianship of Gypsy Wig. They play with arpeggiated rhythms, Afrobeats, and jams that are just the right length. Francis Cacnio (saxophone), Michael Taddeo (electric guitar) and Peter Egan (electric guitar) strike a nice fusion of horn and strings. Evan Moore (bass) and Caleb Estey (drums) provide a solid rhythmic foundation. And when the time is right Caleb lets his gritty and soulful voice fly.
“We are a cluster of combination / The rude and weak rule this world / To put it softly, we need salvation / Or at least a miracle unfurled.” These are the first words from the rollicking opening tune, “Treading Water”, a surreal and dreamlike piece.“Power Smoke” is a fiery tune that rages and smolders (pun intended) with swirling delayed guitars and sax lines that feature the band at its most playful.
Gypsy Wig allows space for certain songs to wander, which might initially feel as if they’re fragmented or unraveling, but then they’ll hit the listener with an unexpected, epic turn. They do this well in the instrumental “Pikes Peak,” a stirring tune that made me want to run out the door and embark on an adventure. The album closes with “Gratitude”, which begins with a meditative, swing-like feel. It then quickly intensifies, propelled by emphatic rhythms, soaring sax, and persistent guitars, coming to a graceful landing.
From beginning to end, American Gypsy is a journey that allows the listener to explore the musical landscapes Gypsy Wig has created. And it’s a magical, mystical world.
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