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In the Nest and On the Road

PARIS MOVE REVIEWS “LIVE AND NEVER LEARN”

May 14, 2018

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Alternative country, Americana … These generic terms now cover a galaxy of formations and artists as diverse as varied. From Uncle Tupelo and Giant Sand to Jayhawks and Calexico, their only real common denominator remains the thematic distance maintained with the original idiom, but also the formal permanence of its musical heritage. Originally (as their name implies) from Los Angeles, I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. employ pedal-steel, fiddle and dobro, as well as guitar picking borrowed from bluegrass and country rhythms. But DNA from local predecessors such as the Byrds and other Flying Burrito Brothers, as well as ecological concerns close to those of their ancient neighbors of the Grateful Dead circa “American Beauty” (“Ballad For The Trees”) are easily identified in their genealogy (“Live And Never Learn”, “Planet Earth”). They also count in their ranks a true veteran of psychedelia in the person of the bassist Paul Marshall (ex-Strawberry Alarm Clock, where he partnered with Ed King, future Lynyrd Skynyrd). Should we see the cause of lysergic incursions such as “Stoned With Melissa” or “My Parka Saved Me”?

The general climate of “Live And Never Learn”, their eighth album, lies between Gram Parsons’ country-rock and Townes Van Zandt (“Last Man In Tujunga”, “Tearing Me In Two”), and the neo-country of Gourds (“Poour Me”) and Asleep At The Wheel (“King Of The Rosemead Boogie”). While Rob Waller is responsible for most of the lead vocals, his three accomplices turn out to be accomplished choristers (including the new drummer, Victoria Jacobs, who is also capable of singing vocals). In short, legitimate perpetuators, who do not hesitate to loosen the shackles of a genre long threatened with sclerosis.

— Patrick Dallongeville, Paris Move, Blues Magazine

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