Uncut (p.101) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The clarinet and violin provide a strong klezmer flavour, but the arrangements are diverse, ranging from Appalachian trad to Israelite-reggae."
The Klezmatics: Lorin Sklamberg (vocals, guitar, accordion, piano); Lisa Gutkin (violin, viola, background vocals); Paul Morrisset (violin, baritone horn, acoustic bass, electric bass); Matt Darriau (kaval, clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, background vocals); Frank London (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, alto horn, keyboards, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Susan McKeown (vocals, background vocals); Michael Alpert (vocals); Boo Reiners (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo); Danny Blume (electric guitar); Ron Caswell (tuba); Brian Mitchell (piano); Kenny Wollesen (drums, percussion); Ethan Eubanks (snare drum, cymbals, percussion); Adam Widoff (tabla).
Like Billy Bragg and Wilco's MERMAID AVENUE, the Klezmatics' WONDER WHEEL comes out of the lyrics of the late folk troubadour Woody Guthrie. An agreement between the band and Woody's daughter, Nora Guthrie, allowed the Klezmatics to use previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics as a complement to their Eastern European-steeped sound. Though the band has made a career playing variations on traditional Jewish music, WONDER WHEEL incorporates diverse musical influences (including Celtic vocals from Susan McKeown), stretching the band's aesthetic while giving Guthrie's political and cultural concerns a fresh context.
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