Harmonious Wail seamlessly blends an eclectic array of styles - Django Reinhardt-inspired Gypsy swing, American jazz standards, and contemporary folk - to create their own distinctive sound.
"It's Jethro Burns' fault", says Harmonious Wail founder and leader Sims Delaney-Potthoff of the band's unique, enticing style of mandolin-heavy gypsy-jazz. For seven years Sims studied with Burns, the legendary jazz mandolinist, laying the foundation for Harmonious Wail's acoustic string sound. He furthered his studies at Boston's Berklee College of Music, honing his skills while immersing himself in the "Gypsy" music of Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli (Sam Bush, Dan Hicks, Lester Young, David Grisman, and Louis Armstrong are also on his list of musical heroes). He founded Madison, WI-based Harmonious Wail in 1987.
Vocalist Maggie Delaney-Potthoff is a captivating performer. Equally at home scatting over a bebop tune, soaring on a solo, or blending with the Wail's tight vocal harmonies, she delivers both powerhouse tunes and ballads with confidence and ease. Her sensual, sinuous movements (a product of her background in dance and theatre) and her use of a cardboard box as a "drum" (played with brushes) add to the charm she exudes onstage.
Supplying style and proficiency on guitar and lending vocal support with his marvelous harmonies, Tom Waselchuk contributes a contagious passion for music to Harmonious Wail. He also brings with him 23 years of professional musical experience
much of it spent in the company of mandolinist Sims Delaney-Potthoff. Their friendship and musical collaborations date back to 1979 when they "co-led" the Stone Oak Bluegrass Band. In 1986, the two founded the Full Count Jazz Band, a sextet that performed regularly in Madison's premier jazz clubs as well as showcases such as the Isthmus Jazz Festival. And in 2001, Tom once again teamed with Sims to lend their longtime camaraderie to Harmonious Wail.