Old Californio Country
Rocking Country-Folk With Plenty of Twists and Turns.
With three original songs and a huge handful of covers, Country-Folk rockers Old Californio hit the ground running with their latest self-released album Old Californio Country.
Using these songs to showcase their musicianship is a smart move, as all the members in this band—lead singer Rich Dembowski, guitarist/singer Woody Aplanalp, drummer Justin Smith, keyboardist Jon Niemann, bassist Kip Boardman, and newest member Paul Lacques on dobro and guitar—get to stretch their wings substantially throughout.
This album is mostly a love letter to songwriting, with renditions of many classic songs, several of which are pulled straight from the Americana Songbook.
Their rendition of Neil Young’s “Lotta Love” retains the AOR feel of the Nicolette Larson version, while adding layers of sweet harmonies too.
Folk classic “The Cuckoo” gets the Old Californio treatment with brushes on snare keeping the whole thing moving with electric and acoustic guitars chiming throughout.
Lowell George’s “Willin’” gets an intimate late-night barroom makeover, with a harmonica part that’ll make you weep in your beer.
We get not one but two John Prine songs in the form of “The Speed of Loneliness,” where the delicately picked guitars give a heavenly backdrop to a tale of broken romance; and “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door” which is both darker than Prine’s version, but also comes across funnier, with a forward-thinking bluegrass style while not afraid to look back.
The Rolling Stones classic rock song “Wild Horses” is amped up gracefully with some tasty dobro by Paul Lacques, from the Tujunga, California band I See Hawks in L.A.
Adding Lacques to the OC lineup was a wise decision, as he’s proven himself indispensable.
This is a fine addition to the Old Californio discography, keep ’em coming, guys.
Review by the Legendary Roy Peak
Released November 25 2022
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