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Shotgun Wedding

A Big World of Fun

Whiner Brothers

This is the new album by several of the folks who used to be known as the Moon Seven Times, including Lynn Canfield and Brendan Gamble. A bit less ethereal and a bit more country-rock than M7x, Shotgun Wedding can also kick into a seriously cool lounge jazz vibe at times, as well as put out some excellent blues guitar licks and enjoyably retro Wurlitzer and Hammond organ.

   As you can tell from that description, Shotgun Wedding covers a lot of ground on A Big World of Fun . Sometimes the band's laid-back Midwestern roots show through, with visions of endless fields and fluffy clouds just waiting till you turn your back to dump a load of rain on you, like the very mellow fatalism of "Mondays & Twisters." Other songs feel a bit like a tiny sad cafe in Paris, such as "A Big World of Fun," with its drooping-beret accordion, sorrowful upright bass, and fragile piano.

   A lot of the songs talk about love, loss, and the past, with mysterious lyrics that remind me of excellent but extremely personal poetry -- you feel the words in your heart more than grasping them with your mind. Witness the enigmatic and lovely "Firefly," with its slow-strummed acoustic guitar, tinkling keyboards, and wistful concertina, which is maybe a song about that crazy loved/hated person in all our lives we can't live with or without: "I know I will miss you/ just as much as I wish you would go away."

   Through all this excellent music, though, the strand that keeps pulling me in is Lynn Canfield's gorgeous, warm voice. Lynn seems to know just how to stroke you with her singing, and just how to stab you when you deserve it. Very nice stuff.

Whiner Brothers Records, P.O. Box 4041, Urbana, IL 61803

--Dave Aftandilian