Sacramento. Loved Ones, Nick Rossi Set, Dave Gleason's Wasted Days, California Stars
// bass, vocals
Austin. The Event, Loved Ones, Mover, Dave Gleason's Wasted Days,
East Bay Grease, Mike Therieau Band, Penelope Houston, Shurman, Barfield The Tyrant
There comes a time in the lives of many a deep music head when we realize that rock stars are ephemeral, but musicians are forever. Oh sure, there are always exceptions – Keith Richards is immortal. Tina Turner is eternal. David Bowie is infinity. Prince is a deity. But here in the 21st century, rock stars come and go as fast as SNL episodes. It’s those real-deal musician lifers who endure.
This very band comprises such lifers. And this is glaringly apparent before you even get to the chorus of “Blue Way Of Living,” the soulful standout tune that sets the tone for their debut album Hell Of A Ride. This very band is Wellsprings Ltd. - perhaps you’ve already heard of them. Or maybe you haven’t yet. It doesn’t matter. When did you first hear about Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn? Or Karen Dalton? Or Alex Chilton? Or Merry Clayton, Eddie Hinton, P.P. Arnold, Howard Tate, Marva Whitney, Emitt Rhodes, Bonnie Bramlett, or Willis Alan Ramsey? Unless you grew up inside a well-curated record shop, you had to find your way to those marvelous music lifers. Here are a few more for you.
Before stints with bands as diverse as Royal Trux and the Coal Porters, guitarist and singer-songwriter Patricio Johnson cut his teeth with avant-chanteuse Penelope Houston shortly after she pivoted from San Francisco punk pioneers the Avengers to a fruitful and ongoing solo career. Having played on her 1988 solo debut album Birdboys, their friendship and musical chemistry continues today, as evidenced by her extraordinary vocal contributions to this album – check out their timeless harmonies on “Pathway To Your Heart,” a soul-steeped song that would sit well on a mixed tape next to anything off Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece.
Bassist/singer-songwriter Mike Therieau and drummer John Kent were the rhythm section of Hightone recording artists, the Loved Ones. The Loved Ones were the best 1960s Chicago blues band to ever emerge in Oakland, California during the early 1990s. As a rhythm section, Therieau and Kent can make any band sound as seasoned as the Swampers from FAME studios in Muscle Shoals. Therieau’s gritty and impassioned wail has often been compared to that of Small Faces era Steve Mariott – especially following his 2006 solo debut long-player, Living From a Suitcase – an album that has aged as well as Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. Here, Therieau picks right up where he left off. Check out the vintage boardwalk boogie of “I Wanna Know” or the slow-burning soul serenade “Hell Of A Ride,” a salient song that smolders with so much urgent emotion, it became the album’s title-track.
With help from a carefully selected gathering of likeminded lifers including Danny Eisenberg (Jonathan Richman, Shelby Lynne, Ryan Adams, Tift Merritt), Ellen Angelico (Cam, Danni Nicholls, Lou Turner, Kyshona Armstrong) Jeff Powell (Bob Dylan, Sharon Jones, Primal Scream, Lucinda Williams), and Wally Sound (The Zombies, Camper Van Beethoven, The Chocolate Watchband), Hell Of A Ride is an achievement in timelessness. This is an album that stands tall next to all recordings by each member’s influences. It’s a gift for the ringing ears of vinyl hounds, lifelong musicians, and fans of classic recordings. But Hell Of A Ride is also a reminder that gold isn’t just handed to you. You’ve gotta dig for it. So, start digging.
// guitar, vocals
Nashville. Charlie Pickett, Royal Trux, The Chant, Wellsprings of Hope, Coal Porters, Penelope Houston, The Maydays, Dave Gleason's Wasted Days, Mike Therieau Band, Highway Robbers,
Three old friends back in the studio doing the thing they know best. Great songwriting, soulful vocals, butt shakin' R&B for the people. Joined by Oli Kent, Danny Eisenberg, Miss Valeri lopez, Ellen Angelico, Pino Squillace, Dennie Kirtley, and Andrew Ray Hagen.