Craving a taste of definitive roots/cabaret Americana to satisfy that sweet popspot? Look no further. The Pralines blend folk ballad style with rock circa post-British Invasion – those mid-1960s halcyon days when pop music was enjoying a Renaissance and garages coast to coast rang with the sound of Rickenbacker guitars. The band’s first CD, Song of the Day Café, engaged listeners with a story assortment evoking a dreamy, travelogue quality. Now, with their sophomore release, A Beautiful View, The Pralines once again invite their audience to embark on a musical journey and throw away the maps.
The Pralines are led by singer songwriter Pamela Richardson. Hailing from America’s heartland, with her soul firmly entrenched in France, Richardson pens songs that reflect her observations of life, love, loss and hope, as well as her passion for exploring the road less traveled. On Richardson’s watch, The Pralines drift from a rural summer carnival to a rain-soaked Parisian café, through the yellow hills of Oklahoma to a smoky Texas honky-tonk, from the banks of the St. Lawrence River to a foggy harbor in northern California. Her sultry alto has been compared to 60s French pop legend Françoise Hardy, and it’s that mix of the familiar with the slightly exotic that brings a poignant charm to her songwriting.
Lead guitarist and longtime collaborator Ric Salazar weaves effortlessly throughout each tuneful mise-en-scène – providing a sterling lead here, a 12-string jangle there, or opting for a mandolin waltz. He also takes lead vocal on a rollicking cover of “Silver Raven,” composed by the late great Gene Clark. Thanks to a superlative rhythm section comprising bassist Bruce Hutchison and percussionist Danny McClain, bass lines roll like distant hills while the drums steadily count off the miles. Fresh new Praline Sarah Roodhouse, the band’s latest addition, brings to the mix strong harmony vocals and keyboard influences ranging from classical to folk roadhouse, perfectly complementing Salazar’s leads.
The Pralines’ music has aired on myriad radio stations spanning the U.S., as well as being featured on European programs focusing on Americana and folk rock. Gracing stages from San Francisco to Boston, from Toronto to Austin, The Pralines can belt it out in a night-owl haunt, or settle in and croon unplugged in a coffeehouse. Whether rocky road or acoustic swirl, the sweet sound of The Pralines – like the chewy confection from which the band draws its name – is guaranteed to stick in your head.
Bruce Hutchison - Bass
Danny McClain - Drums, Percussion
Ric Salazar - Vocals, Lead Guitar
Sarah Roodhouse - Vocals, keyboards
Pamela Richardson - Rhythm Guitar and Vocals
Song of the Day Cafe - CD, Spade Kitty Records.
Spaghetti Midwestern - solo EP, indie release.
Both have received varied indie/college station airplay.
Pralines Unplugged on YouTube:
Song of the Day Cafe
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The Pralines win a person's trust in the first 10-seconds of the first track on Song of the Day Café...The Pralines win a person's trust in the first 10-seconds of the first track on Song of the Day Café allowing any listener to feel really good about falling so easily in trance – or perhaps in love? – with the ingenious grooves of their entire debut album. Instantly reminiscent of some of best groups of the 60s, (including The Byrds, The Mamas and the Papas and The Velvet Underground), with elements of country, folk and rock and roll, it is almost impossible not to feel both relaxed and energized as the music sends bursts of goodness in through the ears and out through every limb. Pamela Richardson, the kernel of The Pralines, proves that love of and creativity in music is so far from lost.
It is rare these days to hear such skilled and intricate songwriting sound so natural and free-flowing. If each track on Song of the Day Café were dismantled down to the individual thread of each instrument, each would be a song in itself – from the melodic bass, to the versatile guitars, to the beautifully-employed accordion – there is no filler and absolutely no unnecessary ingredient. Pamela Richardson is a true composer. This rich formula, including her own full, velvety alto vocals, makes you wonder where The Pralines have been all your life. And what on earth you’ve been listening to instead?
And while it’s easy to get lost in the melodies of tracks like ‘Dear Refugee’ and ‘While Bethy Dances’, Ms. Richardson’s lyrics show off another layer of artistic ability not to be overlooked. Within the story of each song lies poetic observation of thought and detail that seems obvious as part of everyday life, yet is lacking in so much modern-day music. “Hills the shade of Indian curry fade as I cross into Missouri” (In Oklahoma) and “I shook up Wall Street but I didn’t know that life could be so lonely when the offices close” (Redeye to Loveland) barely represent the fullness of her narrative. The words Richardson chooses meld perfectly, and range from joyous to longing without ever once coming off as dramatic or angst-ridden.
‘Paris and My Own Life Passing’ truly sweeps the soul away to Paris with Pamela as she strolls through the streets, glimpsing into the lives of others as she reflects upon her own. ‘Are You Thinking of Me’ comments almost matter-of-factly on an unavoidable, wonderful, love affair and would make anyone sit back and smile in understanding to have ever felt the same. Depending on the listener, this album could be a refreshing escape from typical mundane life, a nostalgic trip back to youthful days, or a remarkable introduction to a kind of music one didn’t know existed anymore. Anyone who says, “They just don’t write music like they used to,” hasn’t heard Song of the Day Café; don’t forget to point them in the right direction.
- Sara Rattigan, April 21, 2006
CD Review - Song of the Day Cafe
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The Pralines lay down a late-’60s folk-influenced rock sound that calls to mind The Byrds and early ...The Pralines lay down a late-’60s folk-influenced rock sound that calls to mind The Byrds and early Pretenders on Song Of The Day Cafe. Not many bands mine this sort of post-British Invasion territory, and that alone makes this a refreshing listen. The band is sweet and garage-ish at the same time and would be fun for fans of this kind of guitar-strummy music.
– Mike O’Cull
CD Review - Song of the Day Cafe
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Listening to Pamela Richardson’s songs is like being with an old friend. She has a gift for creatin...Listening to Pamela Richardson’s songs is like being with an old friend. She has a gift for creating an intimacy with the listener that is at once fresh and familiar. Drawing on her deep understanding and appreciation of sixties-era folk/country-rock and seventies singer/songwriter sensibilities, Pamela’s lyrics are insightful and her musical arrangements confident. She brings both a warmth and an urgency to her music that cannot help but draw the listener in, as if you are the only one she is singing to. A rare treat.
-- Rock historian, journalist (MOJO, Goldmine), biographer (Gene Clark, Buffalo Springfield)
Average 30-40 minute set:
While Bethy Dances
What to Do About You
Paris and My Own Life Passing
Al Tuo Fianco
The War Around the Corner
There are no upcoming dates at this time.