Sundae + Mr. Goessl - When You're Smiling - Seattle Weekly's Best Jazz Act of 2017
Sundae + Mr. Goessl’s 5th studio album When You’re Smiling has an exciting, fuller sound this time around. The duo took full advantage of their time at Studio Nels (Seattle, WA) and created an uplifting blend of 15 songs ranging from 1921-present. These profoundly arranged tunes vary from purely guitar and vocals to nearly full band with stacked harmonies, melodica, snare drum, percussion, glockenspiel and layered guitar work. There are beautiful renditions of classic songs and there are toe-tapping, dance-able tunes you’ve never heard! An all-around enchanting album with delights for anyone who enjoys good music from good people.
1. Opening up the album is a fresh take on “When You’re Smiling”, also the title track. The album begins with a sweet waltz (including glockenspiel!) and an earnest imploring to “Stop your crying and be happy again” before the song’s velocity and mass amp up to full speed.
2. “Perhaps”, originally a Cuban tune with Spanish lyrics, features Sam Esecson (of The Paper Boys) on percussion adding a tasty vibe to this Latin-flavored piece.
3. A Hoagie Carmichael classic, “Stardust”. This piece is just as beautiful now as it was then and Mr. Goessl does this tune justice with his layered guitar sounds and impeccable solo.
4. Peggy Lee singing “Bye Bye Blues” was the inspiration to add this track to the album and you can hear the reference in Sundae’s brazen vocals. With retro-sounding harmonies and swinging snare drum from Seattle’s own Adrian Van Batenburg, this track will surely get your toes tappin’!
5. Melody Gardot is a celebrated modern-day singer-songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. Sundae heard “If The Stars Were Mine” on the radio in 2016 and instantly fell in love with Gardot, hence the 5th track. This tune is accompanied by Sam Esecson on percussion and enhanced with a scat solo by Sundae.
6. “Embraceable You” has been done by so many great artists. Sundae strives to give this song it’s proper dues with a simple vocals/guitar rendition.Genuinely heartfelt.
7. “The Best Is Yet To Come” embraces Sundae + Mr. Goessl’s identity to a T. Recently married, this couple is always ready for what’s next and this swingin’ version is no different. Artfully curated, this tune is bouncy and alive with a reverb-heavy ending.
8. Duke Ellington’s classic “Caravan” has been produced on this album at a break-neck speed of 300 bpm! A true highlight of the album, this song is also incredible to witness live. Adding to the adventure is Adrian Van Batenburg on snare.
9. Sundae + Mr. Goessl’s version of “Bang Bang” is a tremolo induced trance taking the listener through waves of melancholic nostalgia with lots and lots of reverb. The most luscious song of the bunch.
10. In 2017, Birch Pereira wrote the perfect song: “A Love I Can’t Explain”. Sundae + Mr. Goessl are the perfect match for this brand new gem, although if I hadn’t told you it was a contemporary tune, you probably would have guessed the Gershwin Brother’s wrote it. Stacked harmonies and lively solos add to the retro sound. Delightful!
11. “A Wink and a Smile” was originally written for the film “Sleepless in Seattle” and fits in perfectly with the cheeky nature of this duo as a whole. A lilting guitar back up and a whistle solo. Cheeky indeed!
12. Speaking of the Gershwin Brother’s, “S’Wonderful” is the first track by Sundae + Mr. Goessl that feature male back-up vocals! Featuring recording engineer Robb Davidson and Mr. Goessl himself singing call-backs, this super-poppy version will certainly put a smile on your face.
13. Mr. Goessl’s .nger style guitar work is fully realized in “My Blue Heaven”. No overdubs here, all that guitar magic comes from one take. Another gem from the 1920’s, Sundae + Mr. Goessl yet again find a way to update it in a lovable way. Using only vocals, guitar and melodica, this medium tempo tune is meant to charm you…and it will!
14. Another tune from the 1920’s, “Any Time”, was a hit for Patsy Cline and you can hear the inspiration in Sundae + Mr. Goessl’s arrangement. With a western swing lilt and some fancy picking from Mr. Goessl, this tune will make you tip your hat.
15. The final song on this album is “Crescent City Blues” where Sundae laments “The boys in Crescent City don’t even know I’m here”. Originally written by Gordon Jenkins in 1953, Johnny Cash came out with “Folsom Prison Blues” in 1955 borrowing heavily from the tune. So much so, Mr. Cash got sued! The intricately raw and bluesy guitar work by Mr. Goessl compliments Sundae’s woeful melodies perfectly.
1. When You’re Smiling 2:35
4.Bye Bye Blues 3:15
5.If the Stars Were Mine 2:44
6.Embraceable You 3:22
7.The Best Is Yet to Come 3:15
9.Bang Bang 3:09
10. A Love I Can’t Explain 2:39
11.A Wink And A Smile 3:13
13.My Blue Heaven 3:38
15.Crescent City Blues 4:20
Vocals, melodica, bells by Kate Voss
Guitar and Chimes by Jason Goessl
Drums by Adrian Van Batenburg (tracks 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14)
Percussion and drums by Sam Esecson (tracks 2 and 5)
Sundae + Mr. Goessl
When You're Smiling
Street Date: March 6, 2018
Add Date: February 26, 2018