Achilles Wheel releases “Live on Wesley’s Road”

Published on October 2, 2020

Jam-band fans have always had to do the “yes-but.” As in, “(name of band goes here) jam great, even if (“Yes-but” here) their songwriting is, shall we say, not overwhelming.” And then you get to the outstanding exception: Achilles Wheel. As skilled a set of players as you can find: Jonny “Mojo” Flores (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Kamm (rhythm guitar, vocals), Shelby Snow (bass, vocals), Ben Jacobs (keys – also a member of Grateful Bluegrass Boys and Poor Man’s Whiskey), and Mark McCartney (drums, vocals).


PHOTO BY JOHN TABER

But there’s a reason that their latest release, Live on Wesley’s Road, is a three-disc monster: there’s that many good songs. Gathered from several 2019 gigs, Wesley’s Road named to honor their late friend and neighbor, Nevada City music community stalwart Wesley Robertson) is an enormous feast of great playing and terrific songs.

Take the opening, which begins with a flawless a capella chorus before charging into a ripshit version of Paul’s up-tempo dance tune “Celebrate Today.” They follow with Jonny’s “Cross the Bridge,” which showcases Shelby and Mark locked tight in the groove with a terrifically swinging keyboard part from Ben… and that’s before you get to the guitar lead.

PHOTO BY JOHN TABER

I said there were tons of good songs, but the cool thing is that they vary tremendously, from the Latin swing of “Black Sara” to the all-out wonderful lyric weirdness of “We Dreamed of Flying Cars,” from “Honey Bee Wine. “where their backup harmony vocals made me think of Elvis’s Jordanaires, to the astonishingly stretched-out jam of “Stones to Sand.”


PHOTO BY JOHN TABER

And so forth. I could turn this into a dissertation, but nobody needs to listen to me. Remember “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”? True enough. Go to https://achilleswheel.com/shop and get this album, and you’ll hear what I’m talking about. A+ and way beyond highly recommended.

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