The attractive rhythms of western swing jazz and ragtime, which have been immortalized in Hollywood films from the ’20s and ’30s, are revamped by the wife and husband team of Kate Voss (aka Sundae) and Jason Goessl (aka Mr. Goessl) on their recording Makes My Heart Sway. Voss’s vocals cradle the lyrics in warm timbres while her husband’s guitar adds bopping pulses to the tracks, making for a selection of charming tunes.
Each song is sparsely arranged with Voss’s vocals garnished simply by Goessl’s guitar chords and licks, some of which emanate a Hawaiian-style twang like in “Young at Heart.” Voss’s vocal nuances are modified to match the ambience of the music, exhibiting a Latin accent in “One Note Samba” and a smooth bluesy pitch in “Low Down Man” (originally by Squirrel Nut Zippers) as Voss laments, “That low down man of mine / Mistreats me all the time / He says he wants me only / Then turns around and leaves me sad and lonely.”
The laid-back, balladry recline of the title track has a sunny disposition as the sensual glide of the guitar and vocals along “Nature Boy” enhance the song’s enchanting lure. Voss makes each song her own, shaping the melodic curve of her voice with an intuitive nature that brings out the most striking rendition of the tracks. The western swing-slant of “Smile” is reminiscent of vintage Gene Autry, and the soft rollicking swagger of “I’m Confessin’ That I Love You” epitomizes old-time jazz in a modern finish.
The ragtime-tilt of the infectious tempo adorning “Fascinating Rhythm” has a Broadway showtunes-fashioned pump, transitioning to a western prairieland texture in the guitar hooks as Voss’s bluesy vocal struts straddle “Pretty Little Thing,” broadening the tune’s attractive features.
Listeners might feel like they are stepping back in time to when “Jazz Age” lawn parties were all the rage – when flappers dominated the scene at mainstream social dances and Broadway musicals were on the rise. Though the music has the familiarity of old-time jazz, there is a modern polish to the tracks that make them relevant to today’s audiences.
Voss and Goessl have been delighting audiences for the past two years, releasing three albums in that time and embarking on national tours to support their recordings. Voss has over a decade in vocal jazz performance under her belt and earned the Seattle Vocal Jazz Princess title in 2014 and 2016. Her vocal range is diverse, dabbling in indie-pop, western swing, electro-pop, and old-time jazz. Her husband is equally versatile, playing for jazz, country, indie-rock, Brazilian, surf-pop, and heavy metal artists. They are a pair that is equally matched in their love of music and skill for creating melodic renderings.
Kate Voss – vocals and Jason Goessl – guitar
“Love Me or Leave Me,” “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” “Stompin at the Savoy,” “Low Down Man,” “Young at Heart,” “One Note Samba,” “Makes My Heart Sway,” “Nature Boy,” “September in the Rain,” “Smile,” “(I’m) Confessin’ (That I Love You),” “Fascinating Rhythm,” “After You’ve Gone,” “Pretty Little Thing”