Los Angeles, CA-based band, The Walcotts, have a new album. The release comes together courtesy of a hardworking band, some luck, and Tom Cusimano getting up every day and showing up. The core band of The Walcotts features Tom Cusimano (vocals, guitar), Laura Marion (vocals), Jim Olson (drums) and Devin Shea (violin) with an expanding membership that includes a horn section, pedal steel guitar, and piano. Forming in 2012, The Walcotts have gotten their music heard through film and TV placements, honing their live show credentials with high profile gigs opening for HoneyHoney, Chris Isaak, and Steve Winwood. Their trajectory got a boost from a recent opening slot for the Chris Stapleton swing of his west coast tour.
There are many answers to the question of ‘how do you make it in the music business’? Generally, these observations are seen in the rear view mirror. Talent, good songs, tour support, record deal…the answers are as elusive as those hard to locate as the strokes of luck that take you to the next level in a career. The one tool that consistently proves effective in the building of a career is probably the easiet….just keep showing up. The Walcotts had a change in direction with a handful of gigs alongside Chris Stapleton, a chance gig that proved to be an incredibly fortuitous bit of luck. Tom Cusimano shared the secret to success, and the good fortune that raised their profile.
Tom Cusimano: ‘I was always a big fan of Chris Stapleton. I had gotten his album early on and played it so much my wife used to joke, saying that our son’s first words would be “Fire Away”. I had heard that Chris was playing the west coast and made come inquiries. I had known Dave Cobb (producer) from back when we both lived in Venice years ago. I sent him a note though the final confirmation came from Chris, who liked the album and put us in as openers. It was a regular gig until about a week before the tour started when Chris Stapleton swept the CMA awards. Overnight, the shows sold out and we headed out on tour knowing that each night would be a packed house. That had never been our experience before. We hadn’t played in front of a pure country audiences and the fans were great. We found that Country audiences was pretty much equally fans of classic rock’n’roll. The shows went great and we ended our west coast tour at Pappy and Harriets, where we had never played before.’
Luck ends when the first note is played, and the way The Walcotts are winning an audience is in the music. Their influences are clear in the sound though it is in the translation that the music excels. The current rush towards Roots music as a career choice showed The Walcotts already waiting inside as new bands tried to glom onto the possibilities the community holds.
Tom Cusimano: I have been in bands since I was nineteen years old. I am now thirty-five years old and have been with the same drummer for twelve or thirteen years. I was based in Los Angeles with a band and the Roots scene was scattered at best, more non-existent. I moved to San Diego and when I came back up to LA, I had a friend tell me that the scene was perfect for the music I had been doing before I headed further south. The Los Angeles Roots music scene has experienced massive changes since 2011. We are now a part of a larger community and fan base.
The results of dedication can be heard on The Walcotts recent release, Let the Devil Win. The album was recorded at FAME studios in Memphis as well as at Fonogenic Studios, the LA-based studio of Rami Jaffee (The Wallflowers/Foo Fighters).
Americana is the style spot to use touches of unique instrumentation to accent and underscore music within its songs. The Walcotts put those sometimes subtle hints of horns and percussion on full display in their band by making room on stage for multiple players. Musically, they can cite peers from Delaney and Bonnie to St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Their sound is in line with The Band, with The Walcotts honoring influences by grabbing their moniker from The Band tune “The W.S. Walcott Traveling Show”. Let the Devil Win is the latest release from the Los Angeles-based group. The songs are a celebration with each note that soars, sails, and slides over swaying rhythms and rambles. The title track bursts out as a boogie as The Walcotts set the tone to rock’n’roll all night long while they recall a night in Texas with “Helping Hand (Austin, 4AM)”, scratch out a groove that sees an exit in the coming dawn on “By the Morning”, and share Central Valley memories of being stuck in small town California with “Coalinga”.
The Walcotts front the legion of players with male/female shared vocals, sending a dual Soul shout out in “Good to See You, Gotta Go” as Let the Devil Win settles into the diversity of California Country with the Folk Rock of “Our Part of Town”, the soft twang rising from “Instead”, and the west coast Soul of “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”. The common ground for the songs is in the excitement that jumps out and rattles from each song. The Walcotts amble into on the rhythm rumble of “Should’ve Been Me” for its opening cut and exit the album with inspirational advice as an audio billboard on the road of life with “Curious & Kind”.