Secondhand Swagger is the debut album from the Atlanta based Abby Wren & What It Is.  Fronted by the seductive voiced Abby Wren and anchored by the powerful grooves of bassist Darren Michaels, this Funk-Rock-Soul band knows how to have a good time.  Michaels’ tight, well defined bass lines will have you hopping, swaying, tapping and just plain dancing as you can’t help but move your body while listening to this band.

“Favorite Day” sets the tone for the album with a fat grooving bass, crisp, funky guitars and stellar sax.  “Do It Well” follows with a sultry bass line and enggrossing beats.  Abby Wren’s breathy vocals on “Slithery” seems to glide along on top of Michaels’ bouncing bass lines while being accented by lusty horns and guitar.  “Told ‘Em” has an almost Reggae feel to it as the guitars, horns and vocals circle around a deep bass groove.  Changing things up a bit, “Lucid” starts out with an airy, atmospheric feel before transitioning into a funky, feel good, love song.  “Set Yourself Free” has a different feel to it with Michaels’ using his B string to great effect in parts.  The fast tempo “On Fire” is a sweet soul infused number that is sure to get your booty shaking.  “River” is a slower, jazzier, piece featuring some fabulous finger funk from Michaels.  “Pity Party” wraps up the album with an upbeat whimsical bass line that bounces along, giving this one a light, airy feel.

Michaels’ playing has such a great feel to it, you can’t help but savor it.  His tone throughout remains fat and tight as he lays down the foundation for this funkified party band.  Michaels’ stylish playing drives the songs without overstepping his role, leaving plenty of room for the other musicians to shine, which, in my opinion, is the mark of a great bass player.  If you’re looking for a good time, definitely check out this album.


Stanton Lawrence([email protected])