The Refugees

If Messrs. Clapton, Bruce and Baker chose their supergroup's name because they were the "cream" of '60s blues-rockers, then Mlles. Waldman (Wendy), Bullens (Cindy) and Holland (Deborah) might claim the same as contemporary Americana/folk pickers and singers. These three ladies, with 19 solo records between them, joined forces as the Refugees in 2007 to unite their voices — as well as dobro, mandolin, bass, guitar, dulcimer and harmonica. Their debut CD, Unbound, runs the gamut from up-tempo good-time rockers ("Fishin' in the Dark," "The Violin Song") and sexy blues ("Stickin' With My Baby's Love"), to slower country ("Jellico Highway," "On My Way") and the bluegrass of the title track. Each shines individually throughout, but it's when they blend their voices in harmony ("There's a Spy in the House of Love," a cover of the Vanessa Williams ballad "Save the Best for Last") that they could take control of the coop from the Dixie Chicks. And yes, obsessive Grease fans, Bullens sings two numbers on the mega-mega-selling soundtrack ("It's Raining on Prom Night," "Freddy My Love"). Just don't expect Danny Zuko to approve of any banjo-fried versions the Refugees may whip out. It was enough putting up with Sha Na Na.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero