Album Review: Andre Williams and The Sadies’ Night & Day

Artist: Andre Williams and The Sadies

Album: Night & Day

CLR [rating:4.0]

A new year is upon us, full of great new music to explore, but before we move on to embrace the new it’s always a good idea to look back and see if there was anything we missed. This is especially important now; in the era of disposable information, where we glut and feast on new facts as frequently as possible, fantastic things can get overlooked – buried alive, as it were.

Andre Williams and The Sadies is just one of the blips that you might have missed. Their album Night & Day was released in May of 2012, and is absolutely alive with verve and pockmarked soul. This is rhythm and blues at its grittiest, 70s-style traveling music at its catchiest, and features vocals with so much character that they seem to growl and snap at your elbow with every listen.

The lyrics range from topics of bitter love (“Hey Baby!”, “Me And My Dog”) to threats of violence (“Your Old Lady”, “Bored”) and thwarted jail time (“I Gotta Get Shorty Out of Jail”). The world of Night & Day is indeed often more night than day, with a kind of casual callousness broadcast in every song. In “America (You Say “A Change Is Gonna Come”)” Andre Williams spits out his philosophy against a background of organs and supporting vocals that evoke a blend of both haunted house and gospel house, spirits and the spiritual: “cuz without cash you’re trash, you gotta be blessed to live in America.” The result is an intoxicating moodiness as rich as any top shelf cocktail.

The following song may contain lyrics that are offensive to listeners.

Andre Williams has the deep, purring bass of a jungle cat, his voice percolating through his saliva to rattle out his threats and observations. If Andre is the night of Night & Day, then The Sadies are indeed the day; their supporting vocals hum, bing, and jive with a lithe, limber quality to perfectly complement Williams’ expletives. In fact it’s The Sadies’ vocals that add so much frank fun to the single “I Gotta Get Shorty Out of Jail,” transforming Andre’s violent promises into a song full of funk and sass.

The music is a rich medley of folk, including slow blues waltzes (“I Thank God”), gospel touches, and quick country fiddling blending with rock (“I’ll Do Most Anything for Your Love”). Sometimes Andre sings, sometimes he speaks, but whenever he vocalizes you can’t help but listen. So before we move onto the new releases, remember to look back and appreciate what’s come before; you might find something new – to you – out there.

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