The Happy Curmudgeons Feat. Amy Lavery - '2nd Chances'
Review by Aaron Cloutier & Staff
The W.A M. Awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding independent artists from around the world in multiple genres and categories. "Best Song" and "Best Album" nominations were based on Artistry, Musicianship, Originality, Professionalism, Diversity, and Excellence. W.A.M. stands for "We Are the Music Makers.' Happy Curmudgeons' song "2nd Chances" Feat. Amy Lavery was the 2020 W.A.M. Award Winner for Best Song in the Roots/Americana/Bluegrass/Blues music category.
I press play on “2nd Chances” by Detroit natives “The Happy Curmudgeons” and instantly, I recognize a Mixolydian chord progression that brings me back to the first time I was introduced to “Sweet Home Alabama” from Lynyrd Skynyrd. A very happy mood with just a hint of melancholy to keep things interesting. A sound that seems very in alignment with the groups name. T
This “sad major” vibe is further accentuated by a slow and steady tempo making way for crisp acoustic guitars, warm midrange bass and delicate snare drum to come together to create a soothing, laid back groove. The sense of pocket these musicians display is very impressive which I suppose one would expect coming from a band comprised of studio musicians. The Happy Curmudgeons are joined by singer Amy Lavery who delivers a poised and earnest vocal performance that grows more and more emotive throughout the song.
Upon analyzing the structure of “2nd Chances”, I noticed there’s a departure from the traditional “verse” “chorus” “bridge” structure that I’ve been hearing so much lately. “2nd Chances” was a welcomed surprise as the song seems to be an exercise in repeating verse where the main hook is the Mixolydian chord progression itself.
The pre-chorus switches to a minor tonality before launching into what sounds more like a refrain as opposed to a traditional chorus with the simple lyric “Time can heal all wounds” resounding. Quick instrumental breaks are snuck in between the first couple of verses to bring some nice variety while allowing the story of the song to continue to build.
I very much enjoyed how the arrangement builds throughout. Verse 3 introduces the full kit along with lush organs and sweet vocal harmonies giving the energy a nice lift without detracting from the mellow nature of the song until the guitar solo when things pick up a bit more.
The production is very clean and every instrument is very well represented without fighting for attention. In short, “2nd Chances” is a soothing slice of Americana and you’d be glad you pushed play like I did.
About Happy Curmudgeons
The Happy Curmudgeons are a group of studio musician mainly from the metro Detroit area. Dave Hamilton started the band in 2015 and they released their first album, Meant 2 Be, in 2017. The band is currently working on their second album with producer, Mark Byerly (Bob Seger Band).
For more information on the Happy Curmudgeons, please visit their website.
Stream on Spotify.