Second Wind - Five Stars
Shane Wilder, Program Director, Trans-American Broadcast Corp.
The group comes back with a great followup CD which is first class.
They don't come better than this. Grab it. Every cut a gem. Five
December Wind - Second Wind
The Cutting Edge - www.thecutting-edge.net
Second Wind is the sophomore release from this Akwesasne Mohawk
Nation six-piece. Way back in issue #43 we reviewed their debut
Sacred Voices finding it an exciting leap forward in Native American
folk rock. Continuing in the same tradition, Second Wind finds the
group expanding the nuances of their music. From the acoustic
strumming of “Butterfly” and “Images” we hear an offering of both
poetry and prayer. Lyrical traditions play out with earth song
sweetness and the emphasis of pow-wow percussion gives the whole
60’s styled folk songs are easily saddled in December Wind’s native
elements. The Neil Diamond-like “One And Two” or the folky “Dance To
The Sun” conjures up a passion for yesteryear. Even the beat-driven
“Ghost Dancers” uses native chants in a catchy almost hypnotic
pictorial. “Fly With Me” rings of early April Wine with vocalist
Atsiaktonkie sounding a bit like Myles Goodwyn and is accentuated by
the twin guitars of Donnie Sharrow and Randy Furnia. Harder rocking
“Custer’s Greed” and the blues edge of “Captain” keep the focus on
groove whereas the funky psychedelic “Pretty Girls” is a jump into
garage rock with a biting guitar tone and great layered leads. Some
would say there is foundation of Pretty Things buried under the
cover – as if they were influenced by S.F. Sorrow.
December Wind releases "Second Wind"
Native Journal, December 2005
"December Wind - absolutely worth the listen! ...This is a
must-have CD for those who appreciate music and will fit well into
every music collection."
December Wind - Second Wind - Four Stars
The Music Index - www.getreadytorock.com
December Wind. Second Wind. Full of wind? Actually, no.
December Wind hail from the Mohawk Nation located on the border
between New York and Canada and are marketed as a native American
folk rock band, or AlterNative.
As you might expect of anything branded ‘native American’ there are
images of eagles, tribal beats, pipes and lyrical references to
buffalos, Custer, ponies etc. But just how does that mix with rock?
I must admit I had my reservations (excuse the pun).
Butterfly opens with acoustic guitars and a west coast sound. The
vocals are strangely reminiscent of Michael Stripe. It’s
surprisingly good and there are wonderful guitar breaks. It’s a
throwback – classic rock. I’m somewhat taken aback.
Fly With Me follows. It carries on where Butterfly left off –
melodic lead guitars, uncomplicated rock. Lynyrd Skynrd would have
been proud of this.
The Indian drum beats, chants and pipes arrive with Ghost Dancers.
For me, it doesn’t fit. Pretty Girls returns to rock – a boogie with
a late sixties feel and more excellent guitar work. One And One and
Dance To The Sun drop the pace and could be REM at their best.
Because You Want To opens with acoustic and Neil Young-like blues
harmonica before the tempo picks up, but the peach is Custer’s Greed
which has a wonderful Doobies Long Train Running feel. Again with
some excellent guitar work.
Captain adds a bit of funk to the mix and more lead guitar than you
could shake a stick at. The bass opening of Images rattles your
speakers before the guitars kick in for another dose of melodic rock
and haunting vocals.
The ‘Country’ element finally arrives with Fly and Who Really
Matters. Fly is OK in a fingerpicking sort of way. And Who Really
Matters tips a wink to Johnny Cash. But both sound somewhat out of
I came to this album thinking it would be some sort of novelty
record. I couldn’t have been more wrong. For the most part, they
don’t make many albums like this anymore. And that’s a damn shame.
**** Review by Pete Whalley
December Wind gets their Second Wind
News From Indian Country, October 3, 2005
"....Their songs such as melodic opener Butterfly, the Byrds-ish
jangle of Pretty Girls, and the pounding message of Custer's Greed,
are filled with stories of love, hope, the struggles of Native
peoples, and the beauty of their heritage...."
Sacred Voices - December Wind
Native Peoples Magazine
These Mohawk musicians have crafted a remarkable debut album. The
moving lyrics are as bracing as a cool December wind. The group
describes itself as "Native American Alternative Folk Rock" as they
proclaim their Red Road lifestyle: abstinence from alcohol and
drugs. The album contains folksy ballads and powerful rock rhythms
that roll like a freight train.
Perhaps the most compelling song is "Where Are My People?" It
starts mournfully but ends with a victorious, guitar-scorched
refrain, "No matter what they say, no matter what they do, we will
still survive." Wow. May December Wind not only survive but also
prosper in its quest to produce driving folk-rock music with
December Wind - Sacred Voices
Tuscon Weekly: Rhythm & Views
Red Road travelers whose musical philosophy is steeped in their
Akwesasne Mohawk heritage (one member of the quintet is non-Native),
December Wind's stylistic bent is nevertheless and unapologetic.
The group's debut handily bridges any perceived cultural gaps in the
same way that Bill Miller, John Trudell, Burning Sky and Keith
Secola all make the leap: speaking from the heart by evoking common
imagery alongside iconic metaphor, and fusing elements of folk,
blues, pop and traditional music into one seamless whole.
For example, the lengthy "Where Are My People," sung both in English
and a Native language presumed to be Mohawk, has an unhurried first
movement comprising acoustic guitars and rattles; it gives way to a
gentle folk-rock section which turns into a churning finish replete
with chiming, neopsychedelic electric solo. (The tune wouldn't be
out of place on a Tom Petty records.) Other highlights include the
funky, skanking "Fisherman"; a roots-rocker appropriately titled
"Sacred Drum" that featured a compelling Bo Diddlyesque beat; and a
jangly, anthemic powerpop love song, "Share My Blanket," which for
all intents and purposes resurrects the classic Arizona "desert
rock" sound that ruled the region in the late '80s and early '90s.
Simply put, this is an unexpected pleasure that will appeal to a
broad base of listeners.
December Wind - Sacred Voices
The Cutting Edge - www.thecutting-edge.com
The first thing you'll notice on December Wind's debut recording
"Sacred Voices" is the exquisite guitar work of Randy Furnia and
Donald Sharrow. The second is vocalist, Atsiaktonkie's haunting
trance-like Michael Stipe vocals. "Gentle Tunder" you'll swear it
is an R.E.M. outtake.
December Wind cross-pollenates into pop with the precision blending
of well-honed songs and strong melodies. The folk-rock Akwesasne
Mohawk six-piece move with a breath to contemporary while keeping
the lyrics potent and razor-sharp. "She Likes Flowers" and "United"
have such an uncanny Tom Waits sting as to infect the listener with
the talons of a sidewinder.
The musical craft in "Sacred Voices" is top notch. Influence lay in
thick from the Fifties fender tough rockin' "Fisherman" to the
concise beauty and drama of "High Noon." Excellent.