If there is one constant in the work of singer-songwriter Sawyer Gebauer, it is change. Moving to Sweden from Wisconsin at only 19, he formed and fronted the mercurial Brittsommar, a musical entity that took off in Europe with a rotating cast of musicians.
An avid traveler, Sawyer crossed the ocean between Europe and the U.S. 18 times within a handful of years. Eventually, he resettled on home soil and recorded the Mary Me EP (2015) at TRI Studios in San Rafael, California which would ultimately be Brittsommar's third and final album.
Meanwhile, an alternate course was unfolding, a path that necessitated letting go of an identity once embraced. Sawyer's new project, Catch Prichard, grew from deep roots in Americana. Citing Townes Van Zandt and Springsteen’s 1995 LP The Ghost of Tom Joad as major influences, Sawyer set out to record a collection of sweet and simple songs that exalt narrative as much as they do melody. The result is Eskota, a five-song EP resting somewhere between languid folk and forlorn country; Sawyer’s weighty baritone gliding over pedal steel and Moog like an oil slick on water.
Named after the Texas ghost town in which the album was recorded, the entirety of Eskota was laid down in one week within the walls of an abandoned, "grocery store, bank, or barber shop". When Sawyer and engineer Brad K. Dollar first arrived, the building was overrun with wasps, and rattlesnake skins littered the floorboards. In time, the space was reclaimed, the night came, and recording began. Eskota, like all of Sawyer's work, is a testament to change-but it is change that can be found closer to home.
Stephen El Rey
Stephen Rey is an American musician, artist, songwriter, and a troubadour of sorts. He was born at the George Air Force base in the high desert of Victorville, California.
His folks transferred to San Diego when he was three. At age seventeen he learned the art of hitchhiking and busking the streets of San Francisco before doing a brief stint at San Diego State University and learning the construction trade.
Rey primarily attributes his musical influence to his childhood in El Centro – an agricultural city situated in the Imperial Valley of California.
His grandfather was a self-made, hard working truck driver/owner and rancher who measured the stature of a man by how hard he worked. Rey’s grandmother owned a local Cantina where occasionally live music was brought in. Invariably, a Juke Box would be playing Johnny Cash, Rene/Rene and others.
Coincidentally, Rey's grandparents on his mother's side owned two working Jukeboxes in their living room. These were leftover remnants from a failed restaurant/bar business in the border town of Mexicali. It was there that Rey gravitated towards the Jukebox; he just loved reaching up and randomly pushing the big square white-horse-tooth buttons of letters and numbers to see what songs he might surprise himself with. If he was lucky enough to pick a good one, his grandmother would just laugh, dance and have a good ole time. As a result, he discovered 50's rock ‘n roll, country music, and a long lasting affinity for old Mexican love songs.
Rey’s affliction for blues also expanded to jazz and murder ballads. He carries a torch and passion for those things that are slowly disappearing in our American culture. These changes are characterized in his composition, “The Old Fashioned Future.” His songs dangerously tight rope honky tonk, border town barrel house country blues, and at times unpredictable rock & roll with a southern swamp. As MoJo Nixon said, it’s “The Gun Club meets Memphis’ Tav Falco drunk.”
Rey has written and composed hundreds of songs and performed with various musicians from all over the world. The following are some of the prestigious bands Rey has either opened up for and/or performed with throughout his music career:
Hank Williams III
Reverend Horton Heat
Sharon Jones & Dap Kings
Rocket From the Crypt
Most often Rey performs with his acoustic guitar; however, he has also been featured as the bass player for bands around the country. Those credits include:
Lady Dottie & the Diamonds
Madjuana (Sammy Yaffa)
Currently, Rey is featured with Cash’d Out – a Johnny Cash tribute band who is currently on tour performing in over 100 cities coast to coast throughout the USA.