Old Californio – Old Californio Country


Old Californio - Old Californio Country

Old Californio – Old Californio Country
Format: CD – Digital
Label: Independent

Release: 2022

Release date: November 25, 2022

Country folk rockers Old Californio are Southern California’s best kept secret, known to knowing denizens of the L.A. Americana scene, and to whiskey bars in various high altitude low humidity perches scattered through the Western States. And to rabid cult collectors who own their previous four releases, each a gem.

With ‘Old Californio Country’ that noble obscurity just might change, because there is no better songwriter than lead singer Rich Dembowski. He’s hopelessly in love with the California hills and the misfit vagabonds like himself who wound up here. You can hear it in every phrase of his sweet tenor voice.

Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Woody Aplanalp frightens his fellow guitar players with a technique, range, and imagination that are rare. He’s worked with Bobby Womack, Lauryn Hill, Christian McBride, Carlos Santana, Bow Wow Wow, Nels Cline and Thomas Mapfumo.

Drummer Justin Smith has laid down the beat for countless LA roots bands and for The Seeds, Joe Bourdet and currently Howlin Rain.

Jon Niemann, keyboards, plays with GospelBeach and is an in-demand L.A. session player.

Kip Boardman, bass, has also played with GospelBeach, Mike Stinson, Tony Gilkyson and has released four critically acclaimed solo albums.

Newest member Paul Lacques (dobro, guitar) is songwriter/guitarist with I See Hawks In L.A., has played/recorded with Bo Diddley, Chris Hillman, Stan Ridgway and countless Los Angeles roots bands.

Old California Country has the added weight and swing of Neil Young and Lukas Nelson’s rhythm section – drummer Anthony LoGerfo and bassist Corey McCormick; and John Avila (Oingo Boingo) on bass and vocals.

So, world class musicianship going on here. But these boys are local, from the San Gabriel Valley, a northeast-of-downtown hard work sprawl of bungalows marinated in LA haze. The big mountains loom overhead, dry chaparral still teeming with deer, bear, coyote, lizards and raptors, shattered beer bottles and empty shotgun cartridges. Old Californio grew up together and remain tightly clustered in the heat smog glorious-winter-that-is-also-spring flats and hills.

Old Californio Country is a departure from previous OC releases, with just three original songs. It’s a loving homage to the California country mother lode, with classics like ‘Lonesome Fugitive’, ‘Lotta Love’ and ‘Willin’’, that summon the ghosts of west coast country rock. Guy Clark’s ‘Stuff That Works’ could stop a fight in any honky-tonk still open from San Berdoo to, well, San Gabriel.

Production is lo-fi gritty in the good way. Come to think of it – simplicity. That’s what every song on this album wears like a magical suit, including the Old Californio originals, ‘I Say That Too’ by Woody Aplanalp, ‘I Won’t Cry’ by John Avila, and ‘Shorten Your List’ by Rich Dembowski. Three chords, haunting like a distant freight train whistle. The singing is nuanced and emotional, the playing and solos intense and personal. Just like the Parsons-era Byrds, the classic Dead zone, and Haggard and Owens and their guitar armies. Old Californio is a peer of the peerless.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/oldcalifornio

01. Shorten Your List* (3:57)
02. I Won’t Cry (2:41)
03. Because (2:41)
04. The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness (3:23)
05. Lonesome Fugitive (3:11)
06. Knockin’ On Your Screen Door (2:38)
07. I Say That Too (3:50)
08. Maybe It’s Time (3.36)
09. Wild Horses (4:53)
10. Willin’ (4:13)
11. Stuff That Works (4:48)
12. The Cuckoo (3:39)
13. Lotta Love (3:32)