Jamie Manov and Keith McDonald are The Whiners and here's Happy Accident ... track by track (lyrics available at thewhinersband.com):
Say What You Mean:
Inspired by multiple spam mails (we've all had that haven't we?), Keith wrote this one on his vintage Rickenbacker 450 with the capo all the way up to the 10th fret providing some motivational, distorted jangle. Jamie adds the harmony and vocal shout outs along with a great running bass line on the Epiphone EB3 while Honourary Whiner, David Marshall Green, kicks in the lead licks and riffs using a Fender Strat.
There's a quick backwards spoken part as the song begins - shouldn't be too hard to figure out what's spoken even if you don't play it backwards (or would it be forward). Say What You Mean seemed a natural song to launch Happy Accident.
Jamie's epic plea for some sense in life as he escapes from the bullies and other crap to the sanctuary of a Lago Moon. Yeah, it's definitely the place to go. This one features the band's acoustic J 200 and J 160 E Gibsons prominently with both Jamie and Keith playing rhythm parts.
Lago also includes tones from what Keith calls his "Band Thing in a Box" - where he splits his J 160 E into an effects side (with a diligent array of EFX pedals) and a clean side. The result gives some gurgle and burble, as needed, with pure acoustic tone always available to the mix. Nice and oh so logical!
By the way, this song has the first appearance of Jamie on slide channeling some fine Harrisonian stylings to accompany his bass playing. Here, Jamie uses his beloved Fender Jazz bass. Jamie also uses a Danelectro reissue D59 DC for the slide parts - the lads string it with some flat wound D'Addario Chromes for a bit more vintage tone or so they say. Jamie is on lead vocals with Keith on layered harmony vocals.
Wear Your Socks To Bed:
A good Whiner friend one day began pontificating (while talking to another friend who had a sore throat coming on) … "wear your socks to bed" he said, it's "guaranteed to end your cold!" Keith observed this and thought out loud: "indeed … perhaps all else that ails you, kind sir!" And a new song resulted that night. The lads bring on some sweet "oh, la, la, las" through this song along with a plethora of electric guitar sounds - some loops and some original playing using the Gibson SG and Series A guitars.
Keith uses the J 160 here (dry) and is on lead vocals and harmony with Jamie also providing harmony and a chorused Rickenbacker 4001 bass. Both lads kick out on dual electrics on the bridge parts.
We should say, at this point, all percussion and drum parts are from loops augmented by Keith or Jamie using an M-audio keyboard to play what else is added. That sounds crazy when you write it but makes perfect sense actually what with modern technology being what it is. By the way, the socks worked! No more cold!
I Used To Be Angry (Now I Know That):
The longest title on the album, and one of the earliest Whiner songs around, has Keith singing lead and harmony parts. He capos up the Gibson Sheryl Crow Signature Country & Western acoustic to fret 5. The lads intentionally used Fender guitars on this number to give some of that Richards-like special vibe.
Jamie provides lead guitar using the Strat along with his Fender Jazz bass and singing harmony vocals. Keith is on the Tele rhythm side. Add some hand claps by the two Whiners and you are done - "wu-ah-wu-hoo-hoo!"
A right royal Whiners experiment inspired by an associate of Jamie's who often makes the statement to anyone who listens: "Get Real!" In a valiant attempt to meet that request (tongue firmly in cheek!), the band adds some backwards guitar, horn and spoken word parts along with Bee Gee-ian vocal bits by Keith. This song also features Kutchie on bird vocals which is appropriate since Kutchie is Jamie's bird and likes to sing out whilst Jamie works on songs.
So, perhaps this album has the distinction of “Best Vocal Performance by a bird” that we've ever heard. Keith uses the Fender Venus here for electric rhythm with Jamie on the EB3 and a Takamine cut away acoustic plus keys, additional bass and drum loops.
Jamie's anthem and ode to his beautiful wife, Naomi, features a great trail out, built up and unfolding over some nice horns and slide parts. Jamie is on slide (of course!) and lead vocals, the acoustic J 200 and chorused electric SG as well as the EB 3 bass and drum parts.
The lads put the SG through the Band Thing in a Box for some chorus (the great BOSS CE-2 version) with Keith on his trusty J 160 E and a Fender Venus electric through a Jangle Box pedal. No one ever said The Whiners had to be all about angst or pain or complanin' - love is just as good - as this song clearly demonstrates.
Just The Way That:
Gotta' love the drop D tunings. This song is another love song but to a different kind of gal. Lol … it's actually a homage to Keith's first Gibson guitar. And, truly, the instrument provides love back don't it? Reverently, Keith uses his trusty J 160 E through the Band Thing in a Box while singing lead and harmony vocals.
Jamie is on the Fender Jazz bass providing harmony vocals and another tasty slide lead. This is The Whiners unplugged.
Another Moon Song:
Surely the world can do with yet another moon song as Keith answers Jamie's “Lago Moon.” The song actually came about because of what Keith called a "raging moon" coming into the studio window one night. He grabbed the acoustic (which one he doesn't remember), set up the record machine and out tumbled the lyrics and tune - just like that.
On this recording, Keith is on the Sheryl Crow Gibson, lead and harmony vocals with keys while Jamie sings harmony and is on a heavily chorused Fender Jazz. He also plays the fine cello solo heard here.
(I Wish I Were) Limin':
Paradise, for some, means one thing - PARTY! Oh, and tryin’ to pick up the chicks on the beach despite misplacing your copy of Charles Atlas’ Guide to a Better Beach Body. To another, it's hanging with your best babe and, well, limin'. Here Jamie does double duty on the J 200 with lead and rhythm and lead vocals. Keith brings out the SG set to "dirty" and layers on the harmony. Can you feel the sun?
Say You Want To Party:
Speaking of parties, this one is an ode to the late 50's or maybe early 60's with Keith on both lead and rhythm using the Fender Venus. Have to credit GarageBand for the specific tone that the Venus got on this one - it really helped inspire the vibe and some Steve Cropper-like lead stabs by Keith - his first actual lead part ever.
Jamie handles the back-end, in-lock with the drum loop using his Fender Jazz. Add some harmonicas, guitar played via keys and the rhubarb, rhubarb scat of party goers with Jamie scatting and, well, who wants to party? Picture Linus and Lucy grooving to this one as Schroeder takes a break from his toy piano and lets The Whiners take over.
Jamie calls this a Keith epic - his "Tomorrow Never Knows", his throw it at the wall and spend hours mixing nuance after nuance. Keith calls it something else altogether but thanks Jamie for the thoughts. Keith uses the Fender strat and sings lead and harmony vocals with Jamie on the chorused Ricky bass and backing vocals.
Guest David Marshall Green makes another appearance here on lead guitar using the Fender strat. His part is doubled up and comes from two separate performances - the second played without hearing the first back. He independently verified that the second time around it is, in fact, easier. Lots of street vibe here including a quick appearance by Keith's cat, Tarzanne, right at the top - more food in the dish please!
Both Jamie and Keith write the songs usually taking the lead vocal on their own material. Keith produced and engineered the album with Jamie in the Devil's Advocate chair.
Happy Accident was recorded, mixed and mastered in its entirety on a Macbook Pro using Mac's GarageBand (also liberal use of DigiTech and TC Helicon Harmony G Harmonizers) with a MOTU Ultralite audio interface to go along with the afore mentioned MOTU keyboard.
Geez, what with all this brand name dropping you'd think the band should get a royalty or something. They didn't but present all the above for other gear heads to ponder. The rest of you will hopefully just get off on The Whiners music.
A special thanks to Peter Kenter for the album cover (winner of "The Whiners Cover Contest").
Jamie, Jack Livesley, Nancy Reynolds, Betty Green, Gabe Caira, the cats and Sheryl Crow
Naomi, Eiliyah, Keith, Dunlop and Muddy Waters
The Whiners thank:
Dave (for electric leads) and Brenda (for putting up with rehearsal and takes and general noises coming from the studio)
Join the band at thewhinersband.com, Like 'em at facebook.com/thewhiners and follow 'em at twitter @thewhiners.
The music is a wee bit aggressive-folk sounding , often stepping into a harder electric sound resulting in what they call "whinersmusic". If you've loved and lost, tried again and ultimately won, you'll understand. If you haven't lived that much yet, what are you waiting for? Get started and use this album as your roadmap/soundtrack!
The Whiners - Happy Accident is the first official Whiners band release.