As rich as the heartland that inspired it, the dual vocal attack in “Good Time’n” is reason enough to check out A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs, the debut album from Water to Wine. There’s a simplicity to the tracklist in this record that suggests downhome humbleness mostly missing from the majority of country music you’re going to come across on the FM dial in 2022, and when coupled with the rock n’ roll influences here, it results in some of the sturdier crossover crooning I’ve reviewed this year. A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs isn’t without flaws, but for all it lacks in predictability it makes up for with uniquely melodic bells and whistles.
The guitar parts in this album are some of the cleaner instrumental components of the mix, but they don’t cast such a large shadow as to make us ignore the tonality of the vocals, nor that of the keys or even the percussion. Everything in A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs has a bit of color to it, from the physical components to the melodic, and scarcely is there an instance where they aren’t blending together in a harmony that has more of an expressiveness than all of the plasticized pop music on the planet does.
I dig the rhythm of “Water to Wine,” “Sing You a Song,” and the stomping “We’re Gonna Have a Big Time,” and there’s no debating whether or not it’s one of this band’s greatest weapons of choice. Using beats to emphasize their lyrics, Water to Wine eliminate the demand for synthesized melodic componentry or even any additional virtuosity from the players outside of what these simple blues bars tend to call for. It’s something I would love for their rivals to take up in the future, but at the moment it’s one of the elements that define their sound over the competition.
“It’s All Good,” “Chillin’ with Me,” and “Sisters and Brothers” would all kill in a live performance, and as original material, I think this trio of tracks speaks to the diversity of influences Water to Wine holds dear more than any others. The bottom line here is pretty simple – this is a band intent on celebrating the depth of Americana, especially from an electrifying perspective, and both their ballads and their bruising singles paint us this picture. A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs is a good start to their campaign, but likely not the peak they’re going to reach at some point or another.
I didn’t know about Water to Wine before A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs, but this record’s ten tenacious new songs have left me pretty curious about what kind of music they’re going to produce in the years ahead. They’ve already got qualities that a lot of their peers would spend a lifetime trying to cultivate to any substantial level, and with a bit of refinement in their lyrics and approach to harmonies, they could be prepared to take on some of the bigger names in the mainstream a lot sooner than later. A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs is a blueprint and one that’s hard to put down indeed.