Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Escondido - The Ghost of Escondido

Jessica Maros and Tyler James

Nashville's Escondido debut album 'The Ghost of Escondido' was recorded live in a single day, the 10-song album was released Feb 26, 2013 on Kill Canyon. Frequent readers of this blog know how much I dig bands that incorporate an Ennio Morricone flavor into their music and with a nod like this from David Lynch I pay attention.
At times lyrically dark with life lessons learned and loves lost, Jessica’s gorgeous vocals mixed with arousing melodies and layered instrumentation create an atmospheric ten song saga. Opening with Sergio Leone spaghetti western trumpets and Jessica’s sexy cooing ‘Evil Girls’ plays like the opening scene of a movie, ‘Bad Without You’ has twangy country guitars and a stompin’ beat with Jessica doing a cross between Nancy Sinatra and Wanda Jackson in a honky tonk.
‘Cold October’ has a Fleetwood Macish opening riff but the comparison’s stop there, a beautifully lofty tune highlighting Jessica’s range with delicious harmony from James.
On ‘Rodeo Queen’ Jessica’s vocals woo us with ‘I’ve got may man, in his raggedy jeans, He’s on the road away from me, but when he’s home he’s a loving machine’ one of my favorite tunes on the album the trumpets are back with James’ laying down some sweet-sounding guitar.
‘Willow Tree’ just rips your heart out. ‘Special Enough’ starts with drum beats that sound like the last night at the Alamo, with haunting guitar riffs lending to the emotional plea as Jessica pines, ‘with you or without I’ll be good enough again’ a truly special song.
‘Don't Love Me Too Much’ is a rockin’ honky tonkish number with great riffs and again stellar vocals. ‘Keep Walkin' has a badass bass and pounding beat, howling guitar and Jessica rocks it out.
Next up ‘Black Roses’ echoes like a distant voice whispering on the wind, exquisitely delicate and captivating.
Lastly ‘Chase the Moon’ is a fond farewell leaving us with one choice, go back to track one and listen again.
This is an amazing album I suspect will make to many a 2013 top ten list. Rating: Four Cactus Flowers
Track List:

1. Evil Girls
2. Bad Without You
3. Cold October
4. Rodeo Queen
5. Willow Tree
6. Special Enough
7. Don't Love Me Too Much
8. Keep Walkin'
9. Black Roses
10. Chase The Moon

Jessica and Tyler met while James was recording their mutual friend at his home studio.  “Jess was quietly strumming this song Rodeo Queen on the couch while everyone else was making drinks in the kitchen.  I pushed record and added a little groove before folks got back in the room.  Later that night we listened to it and both said ‘You wanna make a record?’” They spent the next two months crafting the songs and bonding over a shared love of spaghetti westerns and 70’s music. “We’d put on Ennio Morricone every morning,” says Maros. “It’s an easy process when you both love the same stuff.”

James: I’ve always been into spaghetti Westerns and loved how the soundtracks shaped the movie. Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino are great, as well as lots of Ennio Morricone scores. I wanted to put that vibe into a three-minute pop song — kind of a surf twang, washed-out thing with roots music influence. Tom Petty was a big one, as well. His songs are short, hooky, and the drums are a big part of the mix. We pulled a lot from old country records, as well, both in the songwriting and in the use of long spring and plate reverbs.
Jessica adds, Yeah, we wanted it to sound like an old Western with our life story added to it. I love the sounds of a washed-out, twangy guitar and far away echoes of tambourines. I’m also a fan of Mazzy Starr, Neko Case and Stevie Nicks.

Maros, a Vancouver, British Columbia native, found success as a clothing designer after initially moving to Nashville with a record deal. Her jewelry has been worn by the likes of Prince and Lady Antebellum, her handmade dresses gracing the red carpet at the Oscars and Country Music Awards. James, a small-town Iowa native, has spent the last decade on the road as a solo artist and member of Los Angeles based Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. “We both wanted a change of pace,” says Maros. “I wanted to focus on music again and Tyler wanted to spend more time in town making records.” The result is the formation of Escondido, a band whose songs are a tale of love lost across the western sky.

Tour Dates:
Apr 17 Standard Hotel (Desert Nights) Hollywood, CA
Apr 18 Blind Date @ Hotel Café w/ My Bubba , Kid Los Angeles, CA
Apr 20 JW Marriott (Mimi Chica Coachella Party) Palm Desert, CA
Apr 28 Good People Brewing Co (Bham Mountain Radio Presents) Birmingham, AL
May 15 Johnny Brenda's w/ The Staves Philadelphia, PA
May 17 Mercury Lounge w/ The Staves New York, NY
May 20 Cafe 939 @ Berklee w/ The Staves Boston, MA
May 21 Iron Horse Music Hall w/ The Staves Northampton, MA
May 23 The Great Hall w/ The Staves Toronto, Canada
May 24 Majestic Café w/ The Staves Detroit, MI
May 25 Russian Recording w/ The Staves Bloomington, IN

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