Dirty Linen (p.68) - "[T]he group blends a few jazz and country standards with a slate of originals that show the group expanding its stylistic borders."
WISHFUL THINKING, the first Hot Club of Cowtown album in five years, finds the group pulling out all the stops to lay down what may be their best yet. Guitarist Whit Smith and fiddler Elana James are in fine voice, and the band's minimalist virtuosity is even more impressive than it was before their hiatus. They've also added drummer Damien Llanes to the lineup, which gives the music even more drive than before. The band's also stepped up its songwriting, with seven original tunes that sound as good as any of the standards that used to be their main stock in trade. Covers include Bob Wills' "Can't Go on This Way," a showcase for Smith's picking, and James' Texas fiddle, the Tom Waits/Kathleen Brennan tune "The Long Way Home" given a country-flavored makeover, and the traditional "Columbus Stockade Blues" in an arrangement that could have been tailored for the Andrews Sisters. Smith croons "Georgia on My Mind" with a behind-the-beat delivery halfway between Hoagy Carmichael and Willie Nelson, while James shines with a smoky vocal on the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me."