Grand Ole Echo

Timelessness can’t be manufactured. Music either cuts across the years, feeling right at home in yesteryear AND the unfolding now, or it doesn’t. From the get-go Dave Gleason has crafted songs and executed them in a way that hums timelessly, country rock that’d fit in fine on a scratchy old turntable at Merle Travis’ house, blasting from an 8-track player in Waylon Jennings’ pickup truck or serenading crowds during intermission at a Tom Petty show today. Gleason strikes down to country’s hard beating heart and draws out the stuff that’s made folks turn to this music for comfort and delight since it wandered out of the Appalachias in the 1930s.

Gleason’s new long-player, Turn and Fade, coalesces his many charms into his strongest, toughest song cycle to date. Turning the guitar roar up a notch or two, Gleason muses on the things that keep us up at night and the things that keep us moving over the next horizon. This is music for living on the ground, a soundtrack to carry us from paycheck to paycheck and coax a smile from the most down-turned days.

Gleason first began honing his craft in the fertile crucible of the San Francisco Bay Area, exploring what a modernized California country sound might be. A few years back he rolled south into Los Angeles and Ventura, where he’s continued to explore the lingering possibilities of Nashville, Bakersfield and Topanga Canyon. It’s a move that’s toughened up his sound and fully unleashed his inner shredder, two things in full flower on Turn and Fade, which moves Gleason into the company of enduring stalwarts like Chuck Prophet, Peter Case and Kevn Kinney, as well as solidifying his place as one of the torchbearers for Merle Haggard, the Louvin Brothers, The Byrds and other country pillars.

Not everyone can sell a line like, “If you’re going through hell, then stop by and see me,” yet Gleason makes it seem effortless on Turn and Fade, where the Neon and the Wine washes over us in a vaguely baptismal way. The hurt of living and the healing of it lies in these grooves, the ache of lonely nights and the grip of the Blue Side of the World, but also something that makes your boots shuffle and inspires you to buy another round for everyone.” Dave Gleason was a fixture on the West Coast Honky Tonk/Americana circuit since the early 1990′s through 2010-until a recent move placed him in Nashville,TN. With four albums of his own to his credit (and countless lead guitar sessions for other artists), Gleason has shared the stage with Jim Lauderdale/Charlie Louvin/Dave Alvin/Albert Lee/Bill Kirchen and Mike Stinson to name just a few. Dan Forte/vintage Guitar Magazine says of Dave Gleason’s latest album “Turn And Fade”…’Throughout, Gleasons offers enough new wrinkles to stake his claim as more than merely another “new traditionalist.”

The Psychedelic Cowboys

THE PSYCHEDELIC COWBOYS - Established in 1997, The Psychedelic Cowboys were an initial “spark” in the resurgence of the West Coast Americana music scene. Founding member and songwriter John Harlan formed the band on the concept of “weaving together a blend of folk, country, jug band and psychedelic music” in a way that would sound unique yet tip a hat to noteworthy sixties influences such as The Byrds, Kaliedescope, and Hearts and Flowers. In 1999 the group delivered their debut record entitled, “Tragic Songs and Hop-A-Longs”. The “Tragic” record was met with high critical acclaim from publications such as Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Daily News. For the next few years the group would perform at numerous venues in Los Angeles and throughout the West Coast. After two final performances in Virginia City, Nevada in April 2002, the group took a five year hiatus to deal with parental matters and to record what would be the long awaited follow up to the “Tragic” record. In 2007, the group’s critically acclaimed CD entitled, “Jangle Waltz an observation by The Psychedelic Cowboys” was released on the German label Taxim and is currently being distributed worldwide.

The Easy Leaves

Old Standards, New Directions is a mighty fine slogan for the The Easy Leaves - Or New American Music from the Western Edge. Full-Spectrum Americana also does the trick. And as elated as they certainly would be by these turns of a carnival barker, this fine tuned yet loose, crafty yet tender, down-home racket of The Easy Leaves travels endless country miles past tweety length, out catching any catch phrase. So if you're interested in getting properly acquainted with The Easy Leaves, a good-listen to the music itself is the only way.

Their new record, American Times (Omega Records), spans the breadth of American roots music from grassland stomps, minor swings and Honky Tonk grinds, to personal spirituals, and Rhythm and Blues. One example of the latter mentioned influence, the track Fool on a String, holds its own with ease, a worthy reciprocal to The Rolling Stones' Under My Thumb.

The album also has an anthem, Keep It Country. The cruising dreamscape Honky Tonk Magic flirts with Doo-Wop melody and speaks to a purer time, and the empyrean feeling of a love lost. The (almost) title track, The American, extra handsome and honest, is about acceptance of self, and of something bigger. Heathen is about a relationship with organized religion, and it "goes there" with matchless finesse. And if this record were a religion the central belief might just be that the spirit of a rowdy drunken celebration and that of an old-time revival salvation are not separate. But , American Times as religion also wouldn't try and force you to believe anything (maybe everything though? Maybe too it'd pull a shiny nickel from your ear, unscrew the top to the salt shaker, and help Grandma cross the street).

The Easy Leaves, songwriters Kevin Carducci and Sage Fifield, formed north of the Golden Gate in 2008 immersed in a diverse set of flailing rockers, gospel skeptics, and country outlaws. Their initial intent was to establish an old-time string band. However, this did not happen (at all). In love with just too many different musics, artists as disparate as Bob Wills and Smokey Robinson slinking into their songwriting, Kevin and Sage gave up their banjo habits cold-turkey. The Easy Leaves'sound was born- A modern acoustic sound, its roots kept close to the chest while tirelessly sprawling out in new directions that stretch the borders of the Americana genre in exciting ways.

"Our sound is a personal distillation of American music, based on the styles we like and all the songs and sounds we've been saturated with." The finest filters on this still are songs written with painstaking attention to detail and dynamic intricate vocal harmonies. They're melodic, lyric-driven (catchy-as-all-hell) compositions pinned with the syncopated rhythm of two acoustic instruments, guitar and upright bass. A trap kit, and pedal steel – The whipped cream and cherry.

Live, The Easy Leaves beguile any kind of audience.

Now here, with the explanation wrapped up, you might have concluded, might say, These The Easy Leaves are bringing in from most any musical column – We've heard of these turn left then right types. You're probably correct. From that you might then conclude, might say, A record that does that must not be focused – Why these The Easy Leaves can't keep their hands out of the Johnson's trick or treat candy. But then see, with all due respect, you are not correct. To the contrary it doesn't get more honed-in than The Easy Leaves, than American Times. And to know this for sure, know what's being talked about, give that good-listen a go.

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Grand Ole Echo with Dave Gleason with The Psychedelic Cowboys, Terraplane Special, The Easy Leaves

Sunday, September 22 · 5:00 PM at The Echo