Artist: The Wilders



Release Date: APRIL 2008

By Kelly Marie Martin


Any old-timey country album that starts out with chords that echo The Who's Talkin' Bout MyGeneration signals to me that here's a band that's talkin about mine and with that opening track Wild Old Nory from Kansas City quartet The Wilders' Someone's Got to Pay I sat up straight and pushed my hat back. The twin fiddles of the second tune Broken Down Gambler had me scratching my head, "What's this fiddle tune?" Why it's from the Skillet Lickers, and the twin fiddles of Betse Ellis and Dirk Powell certainly grab that feeling and even reminded me a little of the Red Hots complete with the "yeah" that just had to be hollered right at the end.

The third and fourth song change the pace and set the tone for the thread of the album, the song cycles of multi-instrumentalist Phil Wade's Sittin' on a Jury based on a true story of a trial whose jury he sat on for a young divorced man who shot his ex-wife in front of her sister. Like he said in the liner notes,"It was an old murder ballad come to life," and he breaks down that concept into an essence with five distinctive parts, a Prologue, the Prosecution, the Defense, the Verdict, and the Epilogue. Each segment is preceded by a parenthetical moody piano instrumental played by singer, Ike Sheldon. Somehow all of these musical approaches really work because the whole album feels like it's written and performed by musicians who not only know the history of early American music and it's connection to country AND rock n roll, but honor it and take great pleasure in its sharing. They are searching for the best way to tell the tale of joys past and the sorrowful implications of love gone horrifically wrong and its consequences.

Co-Produced by acclaimed traditional Appalachian and Cajunfiddler, Dirk Powell, Brendan Moreland and The Wilders, Someone's Got to Pay moves between a distinctly rock n roll intensity, to the wine andwhisky honky-tonk country sounds of George Jones n' Hank and the fantastic fiddle tunes written by Betse Ellis (my favorite is Collard Greens,an ode to Joe Thompson) to the ruminative piano and ballad songs of the songcycle that anchors it all. Throughout the album it's Ike Sheldon's voice that fills the gravel of the road paved by the obvious joy the band finds inplaying together. He's got that husky buttermilk croon that honeys a song and Betse's harmonies are just as sweet. Bassist, Nate Gawron lays it down, forming a nice partnership with drummer Glenn Fields guesting from the RedStick Ramblers when the song requires it. And this seems to be the ticket with the album -- each song is treated like a link in a chain that requires each other to make the wheel go round-smoothly, carefully and at times a little faster. But as they say, You be the Judge.

Kelly Marie Martin plays guitar and sings in LosAngeles' old-time stringband Triple Chicken Foot. She came to old-time when the drummer in her indie/punk/folk rockband quit and while at a bbq at Walter Spencer's house he offered her the upright bass. Three weeks later she was jamming in a livingroom with Foghorn along with her soon-to-be husband, Ben Guzman on mandolin, Walter and fiddler Barb Hansen. She hasn't looked backsince. Blame it on the strawberry margaritas? and