When Jersey City favorites Miss Ohio had to cancel a gig a few years ago, frontman David Wilson decided to play it anyway, with a catch: He’d form a new group but play all original music written and rehearsed in the month preceding the show.
Wilson recruited Miss Ohio bassist Ed Roessler and drummer Paul Sherrad to form David Wilson & The Summer Husbands, and now Jersey label Pyrrhic Victory Recordings has released their self-titled debut EP. In his liner notes, Wilson writes that these four tracks obsess over the passage of time: they look back to where we came from and wonder how we ended up where we are. Occasionally they wonder where we may be going.
Nostalgia washes warmly over “1983,” remembering a youthful night of romantic hi-jinks.
“Do you remember what you said to me?” asks the lyric, to a sultry, romantic melody with a twangy lead guitar. “The last time we heard that song was 1983.”
“Evangeline,” brightened by sax and trumpet, recalls The Band with a simple, rustic melody, while “Austin” adds a country vibe: “I got drunk in Austin, woke up on your bathroom floor,” it begins. “Spent my whole life searchin’, don’t know what I’m searchin’ for.”
John Prine wrote songs like this, songs with humanity and a sense of humor. Honky-tonk piano adds a nice dimension, conjuring comforting images of slow dances in roadside taverns.
The slow, sad, reflective “My Friends” functions as the EP’s hangover, pondering what remains after a few too many whiskey-soaked nights.
“David Wilson & the Summer Husbands” doesn’t sound like a stopgap or an afterthought; far from it. It’s exquisitely produced and impeccably performed, and should inspire revisiting Miss Ohio’s catalog to see how many other gems might be lurking there. The EP is available at dwandthesummerhusbands.bandcamp.com.