For the recording of their sophomore album Gold Fever, San Diego-based dirty-blues twosome Little Hurricane skipped the studio and rented out a 19th-century apple-packing house in an old gold mining town. For two weeks, singer/guitarist Tone Catalano and drummer/vocalist C.C. Spina hunkered down with vintage equipment borrowed from a friend who once recorded with legendary bands like the Grateful Dead and Deep Purple. Sweating through a mid-summer heat wave in their air-conditioner-free surroundings— and often visited by tarantulas, turkeys, deer, and other local creatures—Little Hurricane quickly found their new album taking on a swampy yet ethereal vibe that slyly captures the spirit of the weirder, wilder corners of Southern California.
The follow-up to Homewrecker (the debut album Little Hurricane self-released in 2011), Gold Fever busts open its predecessor's rootsy blues-rock with an Americana-influenced sense of storytelling, a disarming ease with breezy melody, and a broader sonic palette. At turns stark and lushly textured, the album draws much inspiration from Tone and C.C.'s frequent getaways to the desert and their shared love of Salvation Mountain, the Salton Sea, and "all those places where kooky people go to escape the rest of the world," according to C.C. Also essential to Gold Fever's sonics were the acoustics of the recording space itself—located in Julian, California, the house was built from foot-and-a-half-thick stone and crammed with thousands of books left behind by its author-owners—as well as Little Hurricane's use of analog equipment. "It's the same equipment that made those bands sound so good back in the '60s and '70s, and it really helps to balance out the digital edge from the more modern technology we're sometimes using," notes Tone, a longtime audiophile who served as producer on Gold Fever. Formed in 2010 and fast recognized as a killer live act, Little Hurricane devoted two years to the creation of Gold Fever. "Homewrecker was recorded literally while touring, in kitchens and living rooms all over the place, so for this one we wanted to take more time and see what happened," says C.C. While the album has a heart-on-sleeve honesty that's deeply intimate, Gold Fever also delivers a slew of songs huge in sound and scope. "Playing big festivals over the past couple years and getting on those bigger stages motivated us to write bigger songs," she points out.
The commitment to organic, unadorned sound is evident in the Little Hurricane's live experience, which has graced major festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in recent years. "Live is what we're really all about, and we try to put on as big a show we can for everyone," says C.C. The stripped-down but amped-up two-piece dynamic also goes a long way in maintaining Little Hurricane's beautifully brutal energy, even on the more intricate and melody-soaked arrangements heard throughout Gold Fever. "One of the most important things for us on this album was making sure we never strayed too far from just good, straight-up rock-and-roll recording," Tone says. "We try to keep it raw and honest, and with the two of us that's not so hard."
Jaime Wyatt’s newest release Felony Blues, whose title is a nod to records like David Allan Coe’s Penitentiary Blue, is largely an autobiographical collection of convict love stories, prison songs, and honky-tonk laments.
Wyatt is a striking figure with an old soul and a voice like a force of nature. Regardless of genre, the Los Angeles-based Wyatt is a dynamic performer, who sails naturally between vintage ‘60s and ‘70s country/rock ’n’ soul anthems and heartfelt country ballads of love and corruption. Country radio station 95.3 The Bear recently named her, alongside Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price, as “one of the country artists you may not have heard of, but need to hear.”