We are the West (from the album The Golden Shore)
The setting is as important as the song for We are the West. Their recent release, The Golden Shore, is the Los Angeles, California-based band’s first full length release, the trio curating a sound, molding notes and chords from an array of instruments, gaining a name performing a monthly full-moon concerts series in an underground parking garage. We are the West transform the rigid concrete structure into a performance space, welcoming opening guests from chamber music to avant-garde sound experiments. The ability to provide a unique live music event translates sonically onto The Golden Shore. The tunes of We are the West spend time California dreaming over gentle west coast Canyon Country with “Tonight’s Tonight”. The album struts on a strong backbeat for “Luck of the Sailor”, the sea coursing through The Golden Shore, pulled by a repetitive rhythmic undertow in “More Machine Than Man”. We are the West tell the sea stories of a wanderer on the soft acoustics of “Siren”, penning sunshine into a love letter with “For Me, For You”, and puffing up on a powerful bass thump to pledge fidelity on “Any Day of the Week”.
Beginning life as a duo playing on a sheep farm in Holland, We are the West set up shows, performing in an abandoned convent in Brooklyn, New York before heading to California. The Golden Shore was recorded in downtown Los Angeles, We are the West capturing the cuts live as a trio with longtime drummer Elizabeth Goodfellow (Iron and Wine). The power of three creates a sonic landscape with an in-house symphony that utilizes percussion, woodwinds, strings, brass, keyboards, and harmonies as We are the West glide over the melody in “From the Bower”, quietly pick notes over ghostly silent-movie pump organ notes for “The Watchers”, and float the title track on misty musical clouds to discover “The Golden Shore” beaming an inner light born of lush strings and heavenly harmonies.
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Reckless Johnny Wales (from the album Runaway Train of Thought)
Coming to rest long enough to tell its tale, Runaway Train of Thought, the recent release from Reckless Johnny Wales, unloads a baker’s dozen tunes, its sound taking varied lines of meandering Folk Country Blues (“Let It Storm”), roadhouse rockabilly (“Because I Love That Woman”). Reckless Johnny Wales ruminates on life’s Roadblocks the gut bucket rhythms of “It’s Not the Money” as Runaway Train of Thought slips and slides over “Cool, Not Unusual Punishment” and doses an outlaw tale with psychedelia for “Mama Scared the Hell into Me”.
Every legend needs a setting to stage its opening act. The back story for Reckless Johnny Wales began in the Boston suburb of Dorchester, Massachusetts, soundtracked by the rhythms of Folk Rock and receiving an education from protest songs. Viet Nam era draft picks put a younger Reckless in the Navy for three years, depositing him in San Francisco’s Summer of Love. Reckless Johnny Wales landed on Nashville’s Music Row in 1980, eventually working for Warner Brothers as Senior VP of Promotions, helping in the careers of Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, and Faith Hill among others. Gazing out the window at the passing population, Reckless Johnny Wales as engineer details his observations, using the hard rhythm of the rails to define the beat and accent the warning of “The War Will Come to You” and filling “Pipe Dreams” with political rambles over a rhythm rumble as Runaway Train of Thought looks down the tracks for the light of a brand new day in “She Said, He Said”.
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