- Streetcar Driver (Dead Man’s Eye)
- Boy Out The Country
- Talkin’ Bout Love
- Feel What I Play
- Rude Boy Country
- Love Is A Dream
- Don’t Forget
- Take My Time
- Don’t Get More Country
- Four Winds
REVIEW FROM OFFBEAT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2014
Despite hailing from the Appalachians and spending the last two decades in the Crescent City, Americana artist Jamie Bernstein has exactly one great story to tell on this album—and it’s someone else’s: the title track tells the (possible) story of how Professor Longhair came up with the rhythm for “Tipitina,” told to Jamie by someone who knew Fess well. (“Whoondang” being the sound of a chain hitting a model T, supposedly during Betsy, though the Professor put “Tipitina” out way back in 1953.)
The rest of WhoonDang the album is sort of short on lyrical inspiration, though, and that holds true whether Bernstein is tackling a second line in “Feel What I Play,” indulging his blue-eyed soul side on “Talkin’ Bout Love,” or injecting a little reggae into his country-fried roots rock on “Rude Boy Country.”
In fact, the point of “Talkin’ Bout Love” is mostly “talkin’ bout love,” and the point he drives home in “Rude Boy Country,” repeatedly, is “This is Rude Boy Country.” It’s a credit to Jamie’s pleasing baritone, which sounds authentic enough to have been aged in oaken barrels, that you can easily miss the lyrical lack of substance in these 11 originals; credit for the CD’s sound also has to go to the production of ex-Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner, as well as Pensacola’s fabulous Mixon Sisters on backup, for fleshing these tunes out and making them sound both radio-friendly and meaningful.
But aside from a very general sense that Jamie’s recently fallen in love (and his attempt to establish his West Virginian bona fides on “Boy out the Country,”) there’s not much on WhoonDang that’s truly inspiring. Weird rhythms are great for New Orleans piano players, for sure, but singer-songwriters are supposed to be inspired by more than mid-tempo jangle.