City Slang: The Whiskey Charmers Purr to a Chomping Few at O’Mara’s

It’s at times like this that you just want to get up and hug the band. On Thursday evening at O’Mara’s, a sort of Irish-themed restaurant in Berkley, Carrie Shepard and Lawrence Daversa of the Whiskey Charmers are pouring their hearts out on the mini-stage while, in front of them and separated by a partition wall, barely interested customers eat their chicken.

Of course, that’s par for the course if you take this sort of gig, and the two musicians are happy to just purr through their tunes. But still, as an onlooker, it seems like a waste. Just look up from your plate for a second, guys. Chew while you view. There’s something beautiful going on.

Much like fellow locals the Blueflowers, the Whiskey Charmers play poetic, mildly gothic folk rock. Daversa is skilled at allowing his guitar to complement Shepard’s vocals, rather than overriding it. It’s a less-is-more philosophy, which serves the band well, and it allows the songs to breathe.

Shepard’s singing has improved noticeably since we interviewed them about a year ago. As we said then, “The Whiskey Charmers truly create the aural equivalent of crying into a tumbler filled with bourbon, bemoaning a lost love. There’s no ice added.”

Shepard purrs through the tunes, and songs about drinking cannily come across as if they're about something far more romantic. That’s the trick, the humor, behind this music. Despite the fact that nobody else was listening, something beautiful happened at O’Mara’s, and it wasn’t (just) the drink selection.


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