lot has been springing up from the the thirty plus year
old culture of the Grateful Dead, including a tour of
their own this spring. They included Warren Haynes for
the first time on lead guitar. The cover of this digipak
packaging definitely has that familiar look, done by
Mouse who has done so much artwork over the years for
the Dead family. Looks like a classic New Riders cover
with the Cactus, starting to really like that kind of CD
packaging instead of the jewel case.
In '05 Hot Tuna guitarist Mike Fulzarana with bassist
Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski (drums), joined David
Nelson and Buddy cage (pedal steel) from the New Riders
and started touring, playing the old set lists and
covers. Ex Jerry Garcia songwriting cohort Robert Hunter
started sending Nelson lyrics. So, seven of the songs on
this new New Riders CD titled, Where I Come From,
were written by this pair of songwriters. The other five
songs were written by the other members of the group,
except for one cover, "The New Minglewood Blues".
This is a great live studio recording, with an edgier,
more rock sound, than the old New Riders. Cages pedal
Steel is awesome as he he urges tones at will. This
group sounds like a jamband, with lots of songs clocking
in at over seven minutes, the shortest around four, but
their music is tight, not going in endless circles.
"Where I Come From" is
the opener, an upbeat seven minute song, where they take
off as a band on a Hunter, Nelson song. This is a real
country rocker, psychedelic cowboys, they still are,
with more electric and effects and less acoustic guitar,
in fact, there is not an acoustic track on the Disc.
Every song on here is the first or second take, instead
of overdubs and scratch vocals, they just put five guys
in the main part of the studio and play until it is
right. No song took more than three takes, that is
pretty amazing. The second song, "Big Six," is an upbeat
country rocker with a driving beat. I love Penques bass
playing, reminds me a bit of Lesh, he is right out front
in the mix. Nelson's vocals have a little rasp in them,
but he still can sing, not a lot of three part harmony
songs like the old days. I listened to an old NRPS album
and this is a real different vibe.
There is plenty of good music on this disc, just no more
stuff like "Panama Red". There is one of the longer
songs by Hunter, Nelson, titled "Barracuda Moon." This
song really rocks out with a psychedelic touch. Some
nice subtle delay, and other effects used in a tasteful
way. Cages' steel really plays a big part in this song.
Not enough can be said about Markowski's drums, the guy
can flat out play, with a ton of energy. This song was
not only done on the first take, but it was the first
time they ever did it. I really love this song and I
like "Down The Middle" a lot.
This is a must have for Hot Tuna and New Rider fans, and
it is a great new Americana-Alt/Country CD.