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Torch Rock by Wensday

Torch Rock isn’t just the title of Wensday’s debut CD. It’s also an apt description of the vocalist’s big, ranging style.

While many female singers have been described as "the girl next door," that’s not Wensday. Alice Cooper calls her "the other girl next door." Since graduating with a drama degree from NYU, Wensday has played jazz gigs, helped lead a children’s theater, and even worked as a body piercer.

Her music is equally diverse. It’s a hearty brew of rock, blues, and a hint of jazz. Produced by rock guitarist Dick Wagner, the album is made up almost entirely of originals. The notable exception is Cooper’s ballad "Only Women Bleed," which was co-written with Wagner. It is one of the album’s standouts. Wagner has writing credits on all 13 songs on Torch Rock, with Wensday being his frequent collaborator.

At the heart of Torch Rock is the power ballad, including the opening track, "Arizona Man," the first song that Wagner and Wensday wrote together. Like many of the tunes on the CD, it has a message of female empowerment. "I’m a free flyin’ woman/Nothing ties me down/‘Specially not no cowboy," she sings in a strong, steady voice. Listening to this song, it’s easy to imagine Wensday sharing a bill with Pat Benatar, Heart, or Martina McBride. There are several other big, original numbers, including "Seventh Level," which features a guest appearance by Nils Lofgren of the E Street Band. Lofgren also plays on "Pirate Love," a modern take on the sea chant. This time, Wensday gives the story a twist by having a woman sailing her own ship.

She shows her blues side with "Bulldog Blues." The song starts out as a slow simmer but then builds into a fun, roadhouse romp. Wagner plays lead guitar here and throughout the rest of the album. On "Predatory Gentlemen," Wensday shows she can go the cabaret or show tune route.

She then shows a softer side on gentler numbers like "Skye" and "After You."

Maybe Torch Rock tries to be too many things, but that’s a fault that can be forgiven.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Wensday
  • CD Title: Torch Rock
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Desert Dreams Records
  • Tracks: Arizona Man, After You, The Rise And Fall Of Love, Heartbreak Saloon, Only Women Bleed, Decorations, Seventh Level, Bulldog Blues, Skye, Predatory Gentlemen, My Fantasy Life, The End Of The Highway, and Pirate Love
  • Musicians: Wensday (vocals), Dick Wagner (guitar), Bobby Flores (guitar), Randy Reinhard (steel guitar), Fred Mandel (piano, organ and synthesizer), Jim Kalson (bass), Alex Cyrell (drums), Susan Michelson (background vocals), Diana Lee (background vocals), Jessica Cyrell (background vocals), Raul Yanez (synthesizer), Dan Tomlinson (percussion), Andy Margolis (piano), Alice Tatum (background vocals), Jesse McGuire (trumpet), Gabe Kovach (French horn), River of Life Gospel Choir (background vocals), Peter Zale (keyboards), Dominic Amato (saxophone), and Nils Lofgren (accordion)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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