On paper, it looks like a formula for the same sort of Celtic-based world-beat multi-culti stew that the Paperboys have been cooking up for a couple of decades. Singer-banjoist Cam Salay is a former member of that band, and so is Steve Mitchell, who produced Wishbone and added his own guitar-playing and backing vocals to it.
What it is, however, is a country record. Mitchell is now based in Nashville, and he recruited a bunch of seasoned session pros to fill out the sound. We’re talking about players whose individual credits include albums by Kathy Mattea, Brooks & Dunn, and Pam Tillis, among many others, so you know it’s going to be a slick production. There are some killer chops on display—Tony Paoletta provides “Johnson Fair” with a tasty pedal-steel solo, for example—but whether or not you enjoy Wishbone will hinge on what you think of Cam Salay and his songs.
His dry, almost-spoken vocal delivery isn’t exactly melodious (it’s almost like a middle-aged-white-guy brand of country rap), and if you can’t get behind lyrics like “Cry in the woods/Knock on wood/Shit in the woods/It’s gonna do you good”, then Salay’s songs aren’t for you. If that does sound like your cup of Tennessee bourbon, however, Wishbone has your name on it.