Grand Ole Echo
"THE STONED, STEELY SOUNDS OF '70S COUNTRY MUSIC LIVE ON IN ECHO PARK — ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS, AT LEAST. BREEZY AND BOOZY VIBES ABOUND AT THE ECHO EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON FROM SPRING TO FALL AT GRAND OLE ECHO, AN OPEN-ENDED COUNTRY SHOWCASE THAT FEATURES ALL MANNER OF BUZZED OUTLAWS AND COUNTRY-FRIED SONGWRITERS BUT ZEROES IN ON THE HAZY DAYS OF WILLIE AND WAYLON AND RONSTADT. THE PARTY TAKES ADVANTAGE OF BOTH THE ECHO'S MAIN PERFORMANCE SPACE AND ITS SUNNY BACK PATIO, WHERE RAY'S BACK PATIO BBQ SERVES UP SLOW-ROASTED PORK ON A WHITE HAMBURGER BUN FOR $6 A POP. KIDS ARE WELCOME AND RUN FREE WITH JOYOUS ABANDON; HANDSOME YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN LOUNGE AROUND WITH CANS OF BUD; VINTAGE WESTERN SHIRTS AND COWBOY BOOTS HANG FOR SALE ON RACKS BY THE SIDE OF THE STAGE. IT'S THE MUSIC, THOUGH, THAT KEEPS FANS COMING BACK EVERY WEEK, WITH HOT-SHOT LOCAL ACTS SUCH AS COUNTRY-FRIED ROCKER ELIJAH OCEAN AND THE FLAWLESS BLUEGRASS HARMONIES OF DEAR LEMON TREES SHARING THE STAGE WITH TOURING AMERICANA ACTS. CAN'T-MISS SPECIAL TRIBUTES, LIKE THOSE DEDICATED TO MERLE HAGGARD AND TOWNES VAN ZANDT EARLIER THIS YEAR, BRING OUT SCORES OF L.A.'S FINEST ROOTS SINGERS AND MUSICIANS. IF YOU SQUINT HARD ENOUGH, YOU COULD MISTAKE THE WHOLE AFFAIR FOR A NASHVILLE HOUSE PARTY CIRCA 1978".- CHRIS KISSEL , LA WEEKLY
"That's just one example of the type of collaborations in store at the Grand Ole Echo, whose definition of Americana is much more wide-ranging and diverse than its Nashville namesake, booking everything from southern rock to psychedelic alt-country to bluegrass to old fashioned honkytonk." - Jonathan Bernstein, American Songwriter
The Echo Park crowd knock back longnecks and listen to bands that can include (former) local fixture, Mike Stinson,or former members of the Blasters. Members of Wilco, and The Black Crowes have been known to show up and even take the stage.” - Los Angeles Magazine
“Sunday afternoons, put a kick in God’s day with the Grand Ole Echo, a downhome celebration with three live bands plus and old-timey jam and bbq on the back patio.” - The Pasadena Weekly
LA native Mara Connor just released her debut single and music video "No Fun" which garnered praise from Rolling Stone. The song was recorded to tape at the Bomb Shelter in Nashville, produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes) and mixed by Noah Georgeson (The Strokes). "No Fun" is the first single off her forthcoming debut album which includes duets with Langhorne Slim and Joseph Arthur.
“Southern California singer-songwriter Mara Connor pays tribute to her roots with her delightfully bright debut single, ‘No Fun.’ Connor recorded the track in Nashville, and tinges of country blend seamlessly with Sixties and Seventies beach-pop here. It’s a promising sign for this newcomer, and all that retro flavor never stops this song from sounding like right now.” — ROLLING STONE
“‘No Fun’ is also an elegant charmer - Connor’s drawn-out, yet lucid vocals are set against a majestic string arrangement and gleaming jangly guitars, wrapped around a melody that a band like Big Star could’ve written in their more tender moments. ” — THE DELI MAGAZINE
“‘No Fun’ is the heart-melting introduction to her debut album, arriving in 2019...the title track, strings-swept and swoon-worthy, a confessional that’s equal parts girl-group pop and ’70s AM radio finery, her buttery voice somewhere between Allie Crow Buckley and Lana Del Rey.” — BUZZBANDS
"Balto sound like the kind of band you’d want playing in the background as you cruise down the highway with a road soda clutched in your hand." - What Youth
Robert Jon & The Wreck
Based out of Orange County, California, this award-winning quintet of seasoned touring veterans brings fire to the stage through their soaring guitar leads, 3-part harmonies and soul-activating groove. With 4 albums under their belt in as many years, new material in the works, and their 5th international tour departing Fall 2018, Robert Jon & The Wreck is a force to be reckoned with.
It is a vision of a boundless neon sky at the intersection of a country highway on the horizon. Through these sounds, Manuel tells us stories of his family and memories of his upbringing as he reckons with the brevity of life in relation to those to whom we are closest. Nostalgic chords with a modern sound in the song “Family” have us remembering our family gatherings for better or for worse. His song “Hold on Tight” has us meditating on how brief each phase of life is. The surging “Love That’ll Last Forever” gives us courage and hope for what might be. Up the Ridge, released July 2016, was written while singer-songwriter, Austin Manuel, was living at his grandparents’ house in the country north of his hometown, Nashville. His grandmother had passed and his grandfather was in assisted living with dementia. Manuel was asked to move in to keep the grass trimmed and the house warmed. The home that had been filled with family members since his mother was a child was now vacant. Manuel spent the summer and winter following his grandmother’s death with memories at her kitchen table writing the songs and exploring the nature of sounds that comprise the compelling Up The Ridge.
His first single, “I Just Want You to Love Me,” reached the U.S. Viral 50 and the Global Viral 50 charts on Spotify. Other key tracks such as “I Could See Me Needing Her” and “Sue in Blue” show hints of inspired sounds from Beach House to Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. The narrative of Up The Ridge unfolds slowly in each song, and churns to a well-paced crescendo. His dream country becomes the meeting point of a bucolic life and engaged artistry and has garnered respect from touring companions, Escondido and Kopecky, whose members co-produced and contributed performances to the record. Up The Ridge is an entrancing album showcasing songs of ghostly countrysides, limitless skies, and homespun ingenuity.
Patrolled By Radar
Put on Cool Your Jets (released May 1), the new album from under-sung Los Angeles club veterans Patrolled By Radar, and the longer it spins the more it casts a spell, the ideal band for an imaginary saloon where Highway 61 Revisited-era Dylan hobnobs with a fresh faced Doug Sahm and a gaggle of curious night dwellers shuffling contentedly as they try to make sense of this wicked world.
Patrolled By Radar moves with barroom honed muscle, a group that’s earned their stripes fighting for attention over clinking glasses, cell phone tapping, and post-work chatter. And PBR’s songs really do snag one’s focus, though often in sly ways, the fun and skip of them in the foreground with all sorts of cool, thoughtful bits bouncing around in the background. This band swings hard but backs up their punches with brains and a well-seasoned perspective on the ways of men.
Patrolled By Radar
Patrolled By Radar
That their latest release ends with a pitch perfect rendition of Randy Newman’s “Ghosts” just signals songwriter-singer-guitarist Jay Souza’s kinship with that insightfully jaundiced, perversely romantic American treasure. Souza uses language with the same humor dipped scalpel sharpness as Newman with occasional flashes of genuine good humor – “Rally” on the new album is a shit-day mood-enhancer of the highest order. And the whole band – Bosco Sheff (guitar), Preston Mann (organ, piano), Ben Johnsen (drums, vocals) and Peter Curry (bass) – serves the songs in an integrated way that’s short on solos and long on a warmly enveloping group dynamic.
Cool Your Jets reminds one of Americana’s first great flowering, an album that sits comfortably next to Wilco’s A.M., The Jayhawks’ Hollywood Town Hall and Son Volt’s Trace – all worthy descendents of the roots-influenced, energized, off-handedly skillful rock tributary stemming from The Band. Like the best children of Levon, Robbie, et al. Patrolled By Radar possesses a unique, hard to pin down individual spark, extenders of a tradition rather than mimics, where something heartfelt and quietly moving wanders the curved roads and smoky haunts of their tunes. Heck, even ol’ Lawrence Welk makes a champagne cameo so you know it’s good!
DI asked PBR’s Jay Souza to ponder DI’s quasi-philosophical questions, and here’s what he had to say.
What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you see the word “God”?
Which has the better cosmology, Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?
Difficult to choose. The make-up was so well done in both, especially as each series progressed. But I’m no Carl Sagan.
Name one album that has spiritual resonance for you.
Revisited and was reminded of my feelings for the Vic Chesnutt debut, Little, recently. Astonishing.
Woody Allen once said, “I don’t know the question but sex is definitely the answer.” So, what’s the question?
What do you hope to get out of becoming a stand up comic?
You can have a dinner party with any three people throughout human history. Who do you invite, what’s on the menu and what intoxicant do you share for dessert?
My mother and father six months into their relationship and myself at age 7…Jeez. Good present day Cali-weed, and Powers Irish Whiskey. Cake, ice cream and enlightenment for the boy…to be shared.