The Wilders

Spring a Leak

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Originally released in 2003 before it was reissued by Free Dirt in 2007, the Wilders' Spring a Leak is a spirited romp through an old-timey set of vintage country, folk, and rockabilly songs. Lead singers Betse Ellis and Ike Sheldon have authentically old-timey vocal styles that mesh perfectly with the all-acoustic instrumentation. The song selection is equally pitch-perfect, ranging from a ripping take on Fred Rose's country chestnut "Settin' the Woods on Fire" to some seriously old-school blues and bluegrass standards like "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy" and "Ida Red," the country song that was the direct inspiration for Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," given an arrangement that makes plain the newer song's debt. Without making a fetish of their "authenticity" -- the downfall of so many bands that attempt this kind of musical wayback machine -- the Wilders have a deep and abiding knowledge and reverence for their material. But just as importantly, Spring a Leak is a mighty fun time.

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