It’s hard to put Squirrel Nut Zippers into a genre, so let’s just say they’re like the jazz funeral bands from New Orleans who make people feel great and get everyone to dance away their troubles. This North Carolina band blends together delta blues, swing, gypsy jazz, and a bunch of other genres, achieving worldwide recognition during the Swing Revival of the late ‘90s and not disappearing after the fad faded away.
Their new and first live album Lost At Sea is a perfect gumbo of sound, which is surprising when it was recorded in the dead of winter at the Southpaw in Brooklyn, a dingy little club. Their songs live transition extremely well with little musical interludes between them and it’s a very clear and well-balanced recording. With classics like “Hell” sung by Jimbo Mathus and slow sultry songs like “Blue Angel” sung by Katharine Whalen, the energy of the album makes up for the band not releasing anything in the past nine years.
Lost At Sea is a great example of how to do live recordings. Surprisingly none of the instruments overpower each other and the clapping and screaming of the fans doesn’t get annoying, enticing people to see The Squirrel Nut Zippers live.
photo by Joshua Smelser