The Austin Chronicle

Review: Wonder Women of Country, Willis, Carper, Leigh

Texas-rooted supergroup sharpens each other’s sensibilities

By Abby Johnston, March 29, 2024, Music

A spate of shared bills brought them together, but the Wonder Women of Country have cemented their partnership with a kaleidoscope of throwback country soundscapes and intricate harmonies. On their debut six-song EP titled after each of their last names, the Texas-rooted supergroup – Kelly Willis, Melissa Carper, and Brennen Leigh – uses their combined prowess to sharpen and polish each other’s sensibilities. Each songwriter claims songwriting credits on two tracks, some co-written, giving listeners a cohesive but distinct tour through styles. The meandering steel guitar that lends Texas swing lilt to “Fly Ya to Hawaii” flows into barroom weeper “Another Broken Heart” seamlessly, despite the veer into Seventies country-pop. Leigh and Carper’s shared love of Hank Williams and the Carter Family shines through on the sweet, mandolin-driven “Won’t Be Worried Long,” rooted by Carper’s arresting soprano. A stilling reimagining of John Prine and Roger Cook’s “I Have Met My Love Today” closes the EP, the trio’s precise, clean harmonies intertwining over poignant accordion lines and simple, hand-thumped percussion. A delightful country buffet, Willis, Carper, Leigh pulls on the superpowers of three of the genre’s ever-dwindling purists. 

Wonder Women of Country

Willis, Carper, Leigh (Bismeaux)

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