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The Western Flyers The Western Flyers
Album: Wild Blue Yonder
Label: Versa-Tone
Tracks: 13

The name says it all – a crack band that takes flight on the wings of western swing, performed and recorded with all the spirit of 1940s Texas. You could say that all this trio is missing is a few more instruments – but hey now, they make a good old fist with just guitar, fiddle and bass up there on the stand. Think the Hot Club Of Cowtown, and you’re almost there – but for the fact that the Western Flyers hold the ace with the stylish National Swing Fiddle Champion chops of Katie Glassman, who takes the chutzpah of w/s master Bob Wills and the best of Joe Venuti and Stefan Grappelli alongside the Django Reinhardt/Eddie Lang brilliance of Joey McKenzie – and Katie sings mighty fine to boot. Prepare to be astounded at her constantly classy fiddling, especially on the high-octane Carroll County Blues, the Texas Fiddle Medley and – surprisingly, given its ubiquity – Sweet Georgia Brown. And the word classy could equally be applied to the upright bass work of Gavin Kelso, another world-class player with a penchant for sneaky little solos that almost steal the show. Whether on swinged-up standards like Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter and I’ll See You In My Dreams or staples like You’re From Texas and Heart Over Mind, the Western Flyers acquit themselves with an infectious blend of straight-ahead swing, honest nostalgia, lyricism and good ol’ fashioned country roots sensibility. This extends to the vintage recording techniques and equipment used.

OK then, there’s nothing new about the Western Flyers’ stall, but they provide a timeless western swing experience that due to the top-drawer standard of the playing and singing lifts it some notches above reliable or workmanlike. They can be guests at my party anyday!

David Kidman