There’s been an endless amount of talk amongst critics about a southern rock comeback in the past two years, and while I wouldn’t put A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs in that category per se, there are definitely elements of the genre influencing the unique style of play Water to Wine call their own. Being that this is their debut album, I can’t compare their experimental attitude demonstrated in tracks like “It’s All Good,” “Hero,” “Chillin’ with Me,” and “Sing You a Song” to previously released content, but if this is just a glimpse into who they are when they’re able to push the boundaries as much as the studio will allow them to, this could be the start of a country-rock wave even more provocative than its straight southern cousin is.
“Good Time’n,” “Sisters and Brothers,” as well as “Water to Wine” are very moderately stylized, but they aren’t devoid of a kick where it counts the most. Usually in A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs, this kick is sourced directly from the guitar strings, or the harmony they form with the vocalists, but it always comes to fruition when we’re hurting for it the most. This band knows how to use their rhythm and rhyme to make moods grander without ever having to contextualize a statement with over the top lyrics, and were this the status quo in modern country music, I don’t believe we would be talking about their debut album as much as we are this April. It’s a unicorn in this regard, but one that sets a bar these players still have a chance to raise.
Water to Wine didn’t spare any instrumental or tonal details when it came to giving us every ounce of harmonious passion they could offer in “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About,” “We’re Gonna Have a Big Time,” and even the soft “What Kind of Fool,” and their rejection of using hook-based material exclusively says a lot about what we should be expecting out of their future trips to the recording studio. They’re fearless when it comes to giving a string melody as much of the spotlight as the vocal is getting, and when you look at just how few rock or country acts are able or willing to do so at the moment, it highlights just how important a release like this is to both its creators and fans of the two genres.
Countrified to the core but still very much a rock n’ roll record in the right departments, Water to Wine’s A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs offers us a casual introduction to what this country-rock set is capable of. They’ve got some genuine rivalries that are going to intensify on the southern side of the United States, but with regards to their overall appeal, I think fans of southern rock, plain country, and westernized alternative rock will agree that Water to Wine is dishing out something that few acts are serving in 2022. A Señorita, A Sweet Tea and A Few Good Songs lives up to what its name would have us believe it to be, but it also projects potential more than anything else.