The David Wax Museum

The first time I spun Knock Knock Get Up; all I could think was, “How would these songs sound live?” Reason being is that the stage is where David Wax Museum thrives. I have had the pleasure once and they were all over the place. On stage, in the crowd, on top of the bar. They did everything but hop behind the bar and make me a cocktail. It was one of the more energetic shows I have seen, made even better by the fact that seemed to be love every second of being on the stage (or off it).

Much like The Avett Brothers sound has evolved over the years, so has David Wax Museum’s. For a band that was born as a combo of the Mexican son music with American folk, Knock Knock Get Up has made the Mexican folk influences more subtle. This is quite consistent with their prior effort Everything Is Saved and I believe this to be a wonderful thing.

To my humble ear, the band feels less constrained as if they realize it is not necessary to force the influence of the Mexican son music. This allows the talents of the two main members, David Wax and Sue Slezak to shine through, all the while using their past experience and musical influences.

The title comes from a line in Harder Before It Gets Easier. And if ever a song was meant for a live setting this is it. I can picture Slezak banging away on her donkey Jawbone and stomping away as Wax leads the crowd through a rabble-rousing folk number. According, fiddle, dog barking. Its all in there.

Knock Knock Get Up is a vibrant album that makes you happy to be alive. Watching this band mature and blossom has been a delight. Knock Knock Get Up is their fourth effort and they just keep getting better.

David Wax Museum – “Will You Be Sleeping” by radiomilwaukee

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I’m a fan of The David Wax Museum’s previous two efforts, Carpenter Bird and I Turned Off Thinking About, but their latest release, Everything Is Saved has sealed the deal for me. The album blends American folk with traditional Mexican music, which is no small challenge. There were moments of sheer brilliance on the first two efforts – “There Was a Bridge” and “The Persimmon Tree” are two that jump to mind – but the peaks on those albums also had some valleys. There are no valleys on Everything Is Saved. It’s a tremendous album that finds the band in great form throughout.

The core of the Museum is its namesake, David Wax. His travels across Mexico and passion for the country’s folk music inspired the band. In addition to the stellar writing on this album, Wax’s vocals have never sounded better. His cohort, Suz Slezak, also takes a more prominent role singing harmony or trading off verses on nearly every song. Their voices blend together in a way that is both natural and captivating.

The album is shot out of a cannon (or as much of a cannon that an Indie-folk band can muster) with “Born With A Broken Heart.” It’s an upbeat Paul Simon-inspired number with horns, accordions and more percussion than you can shake a stick at. “Look What You’ve Done To Me” is a gorgeous tune. Wax and Slezak really deliver the goods on this sparse acoustic number with the perfect amount of texture – enough to keep you hanging on every word, but not so much to draw attention away from the subtleties in their vocals.

“Night Was A Car” and “The Least I Can Do” are other standouts before the closing tune, “Wait For Me.” It is the perfect song to close one of the best breakout albums of 2011.

The David Wax Museum – Born With A Broken Heart

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wax

When David Wax emailed us earlier this year, I was immediately taken with his debut LP – specifically the song “There Was a Bridge.” It was a perfect blend of Americana and traditional Mexican folk music, bringing Calexico to mind.

The new album, Carpenter Bird, continues along that path and Wax’s songs remain as earnest as his initial effort. Throughout the album, mandolins and dobros are entwined with fiddles and horns, but never stepping on each other’s toes. There’s a subtle little jam at the end of “Beekeeper” where the fiddle and horn are dancing around the mandolin that is extremely tasty.

The mp3 below, “Colas,” is based on a traditional son jarocho song from southern Veracruz called “El Colas.” Wax kept one of the traditional verses in Spanish, translated one to English, and then wrote some new verses and a new chorus.

“Persimmon Tree” is another winner with Wax harmonizing with the excellent Sue Slezak who chips in on vocals and fiddle throughout the album. The song is buoyed by a baritone sax riff by guest Alec Spigleman that gives the tune the latin flavor.

Wax does a great job of giving his compositions the right amount of Mexican flavor. Combined with his talented supporting Museum of Sue Slezak, Greg Glassman and Jiro Kokobu, he has put out a uniquely tremendous album. These guys are all the rage in the Boston area and are embarking on an East Coast tour. They just had two sold out shows at Club Passim in Boston to celebrate the release of Carpenter Bird. I suggest checking them out as they make their ascent on the musical landscape.

The David Wax Museum – Colas

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Meet The David Wax Museum [new mp3]

by Woody on January 10, 2009

david wax museum

Occasionally I click on a MySpace link and am completely floored. Most of the time, I blindly click through, spend a few seconds, then move on. But after clicking to The David Wax Museum and hearing “There Was A Bridge” blasting out of my computer, I was amazed. The songs I heard streaming blend Americana with a Latin flavor in a breathtaking display of musicianship.

Wax and his guitar are backed by a slew of instruments that fit his rich and somewhat strained voice. You’ll hear mandolins, dobros and Sue Slezak’s fiddle that is so achingly beautiful that your thoughts will be haunted for the rest of the day. While I enjoyed several of the tracks Iheard, “There Was a Bridge” is the sort of song that others should dream of writing. Slezak’s fiddle and Wax’s voice build the song up to a level of tension that is palpable.

They’ve opened for The Avett Brothers and The Everybodyfields. If you dig those bands, Calexico, and Iron & Wine, then say hello to a new favorite. They have a new album coming out this spring and their debut is available of Amie Street for $1.

Website | MySpace

David Wax Museum – There Was A Bridge

Update:

At HearYa, we pride ourselves that our posts contain 40% inspiration, 60% perspiration and 0% research and fact-checking.‚  So with that in mind, I made a couple of mistakes on the post above:

1. “There Was a Bridge” is on David’s prior release. Yes, the one that’s available for $1 on Amie Street. So go download it and then come back here and you can read my second mistake.

2. OK, welcome back. The fiddler on “There Was a Bridge” is David’s cousin, Jordan. Kudos to you Jordan. Sue is the current fiddler for the upcoming release.

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