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Old Californio (from the album Metaterranea available as a self-release) (by Lee Zimmerman)
In a very decided sense, Old Californio live up to their name. Its members boast stints with such iconic artists as Neil Young, Chris Hillman, Bo Diddley, and Bobby Womack — credentials that underscore both their experience and expertise in the Americana arena. The musicians involved may not fall into any household name category, but songwriter/lead singer Rich Dembowski, guitarist/vocalist Woody Alplanalp, drummers Justin Smith and Anthony Logerfo, keyboardist Jon Niemann, bassist Corey McCormick, and guitarist Paul Lacques clearly have the savvy and experience needed to live up to the timeless traditions they’re obviously eager to engage.
The result makes for a breezy Country Rock sound that summons up the strains of Southern California’s canyons, enclaves and high desert environs circa the ‘60s and early ‘70s. “Old King’s Road” and “Come Undone” kick off the proceedings with a rousing, robust revelry of sorts, making it clear that the band is clearly committed to carrying that legacy forward with a full flourish. “Weeds/Wildflowers” and “The Seer” maintain the momentum, and even when the band eases up on the tempo to allow for some slower songs — “Tired For a Sea”, “The Swerve,” and “Through the Days (And Past All Nights)” in particular — the mood is adjusted accordingly.
Accordingly, retro references echo throughout Metaterranea, and yet at the same time, the songs never come across as contrived or superficial. Granted, the current cycle of Americana often obscures music of this vintage and, in some ways, diminishes the importance that bands like The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Poco brought to the table at that juncture when Country and Rock’n’Roll still seemed like unlikely bedfellows. Yet there’s something to be said for the hushed harmonies, evocative imagery and steadfast delivery that linger in Old Californio’s carefully considered approach. It’s nuanced nostalgia, and the tone and tenacity allow for a sound that’s as evocative as ever. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Old Californio from BANDCAMP
For more information, please visit the Old Californio website
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