Sunday Wilde, a self-taught pianist, vocalist and composer from Atikokan, ON (dubbed “The Canoeing Capital of Canada”), dismisses the various comparisons attributed to her vocal chops, and rightly so, as they do stand out, at least in tonal quality. That being said, her natural display of versatility will eventually award her a prominent position within the cadre of both bygone and contemporary dames of jazz/blues fame, along with the likes of Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, Big Mama Thornton, Mae West, Mama Cass Elliott, Eden Brent, Little Miss Higgins, and Terra Hazelton. Unapologetically, when I listen to her recordings, I feel like I’ve stepped into an old-time honky-tonk barroom, way before that genre of music became accepted into the Caucasian musical mainstream.
Her compositions focus almost exclusively on romantic interaction and the various collisions and harmonies involved in same, and who can’t relate to that in some way? The lyrics are not at all characterized by the industrially prevalent “I love you, baby, but you are a jerk” variety, but you still get the impression, however more eloquently stated, that this woman’s emotions (happy, sad, or angry) are not to be trifled with.
I love her stripped-down musical approach to recording, specifically on the What Man? Oh, That Man! release, which is comprised solely of Wilde on piano and vocals, Ronnie Hayward on upright bass (such a theatrical instrument!), and David West on tasty guitar melodies that always blend in perfectly with the piano and bass lines. It’s the kind of sound you could appreciate equally well in a small club, a large concert hall, and, of course, on radio or TV airings. My favourite tracks include “I Can’t Shake That Guy”, “My Baby’s Dead”, “Sunday’s Midnight Blues”, “Don’t Bother Me”, and “Trouble Coming at Me”, but I could personally listen to the whole thing in repeat mode.
Sunday Wilde gets my priority vote for “Best (Female Canadian) Blueswoman” of 2011, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she decided to record/perform a rock song or two in the near future. It would be an effortless vocal endeavour.
Diane Wells (a.k.a. D.D. Rocker/Misty Blue 1955)
Former host of “Rockin’ the Blues from Canada” and “Iron Maidens” (CKCU 93.1 FM) and “Patchwork Blues” (CHMR 93.5 FM and CFMU 93.3 FM)