by Constance Tucker
Sassy and classy, yes that’s right. The duo of Sundae + Mr. Goessl fits into that category quite nicely. Sundae + Mr. Goessl’s fifth studio album When You’re Smiling, invites the listener to a bursting sound this time around. A heartening blend of fifteen songs ranging from 1921 to present. What is uniquely different this time around is, we are treated to the same wonderful duet sounds that Makes My Heart Sway (which I reviewed in 2016), offered, which quickly won hearts with its finely tuned vocals and melodic guitar stylings, but this time around we are also treated to a band with stacked harmonies, melodica, snare drum, percussion, glockenspiel and layered guitar work. Whew, that was a mouthful. There are beautiful renditions of classic songs and there are toe-tapping, dance-able tunes you’ve never heard!
Adorning itself toward the end of the album, I did jump to this tune. Reason, admittedly, I have always been a Patsy Cline fan, its hard not to find one when you get down to the face to face, honest truth of it all. The duo tackles a tune from the 1920’s, “Any Time,” which consequently was a hit for Patsy Cline, which you can hear strongly in its affinity for the country mainstay in their arrangement, which features a decidedly western swing cadence and some elaborate picking from Mr. Goessl.
Another blast from the past for me was “Bang Bang,” and no I’m not talking about the Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj tune. I mean the distinctly hip and decidedly cool Nancy Sinatra hit. Mr. Goessl uses a moody tremolo effect with a darkly hued reverb to allow Sundae to spin her infectious melancholic nostalgia on the most luscious song of the album. This is the tune I would love to see the duo make into a video. Or since I am throwing in requests, how about Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made for Walking,” for the next album.
All in all, this is a delightful recording of yesterday and yesteryear with a perky twang and a sensuous lilt artfully curated into a fifteen-song album of skillfully blended tunage. The performances are inspired whether in a duo or quartet setting and Sundae + Mr. Goessl sell their brand with as aforementioned sass and class. Reminiscent of Asleep at the Wheel, but with a jazzier rhythm. Either way, it’s a sold win!