Walking Spanish is enigmatic in style. Their music is an honest expression of the band's dynamic, magnetic prowess. It is the choice vehicle for songs written by acclaimed California singer/songwriter and guitarist, Alexander Nelson, 24, who established Walking Spanish as the band's front man when he was a teenager. Since, Nelsons' songs have received praise and notoriety from journalists, TV hosts, radio DJs, record producers, politicians, philanthropists and venture capitalists. Not to mention hippies, teachers, rednecks, strippers, cops and punks alike. Fans being made at every show agree that Nelson's songs are works of fine art, whether you hear them on the Walking Spanish albums or catch him performing live with the band or solo.
The fun doesn't stop at the songs, however.
The glory-bound rhythm section of Walking Spanish consists of two brothers from Sacramento, Tim & Patrick Picchi. They add power to the exquisite fusion of Nelson's words and melodies with a sonic backbone that's 5 ft. thick.
The Picchis bring big drive and sophisticated intricacies to Nelsons' already enchanting songs, reminiscent of McCartney & Starr, John Paul Jones & John Bonham, or even Dave Grohl & Krist Novoselic of Nirvana.
Nelson plays guitar too. Electric and acoustic. And I mean PLAYS....but don't take my word for it. You'll hear soon enough.
Between the immense talent that makes up this band's foundations and the brilliant gems who join them on stage,
you are sure to love what you hear.
"They're fresh outta Sacramento""...a sound that's a little tough to pigeon-hole. It's at once familiar, yet it's loaded with fresh spin. Their name comes from a Tom Waits tune, there are moments that sound like they could be from the South, others where it could be 30 ago, and San Francisco, and yet still others when you'll feel like there's a completely different alt-rock club thing happening. We've been keeping an eye on them for most of the past year, and we're pretty stoked to be part of their first California tour."
-Fingerprints Music Newsletter # 1222, Long Beach, CA, July 2012
“…Nelson’s almost-British Isles romantic sensibility aligns with Americana instrumentation. Mix in his keening, Western United States savored articulation, and the band’s ability to give dramatic surge, this music raises the bar in Sacramento.”
- Beatnik Studios & Swell Productions, Sacramento365, July 2012
"...Searing high energy indie rock, fronted by virtuosic Alex Nelson... "Wishbones" is the kind of album that you can listen to from start to finish, on repeat, and I've been doing just that. The songs are fully developed. The solos and interludes are searing but restrained, integral to the songs. It's all about the songs on this record." -Lindol French, Sacramento Press, March 2011 (http://www.examiner.com/nightlife-in-sacramento/walking-spanish-wishbones)
"Walking Spanish will fall nothing short of full speed ahead. This mixed genre of fresh talent, sound, attitude will surprise and please your music palette. Regardless of how far you've walked and danced barefoot through the halls of time. They're that good." -Pamela Youngs, Steel-ties.com band review, March 2011
"..Walking Spanish have a poetic jam-band, classic-rock vibe with some orchestral pops- It's a lush and layered sound thanks to band members with backgrounds from every genre"
- Erin Dewitt, O.C. Weekly, July 2012
"Wishbones is a versatile blend of well structured songs combining country, rock and roll and pop littered with subtly haunting and poetic verse."
-Jenn Walker, Submerge Magazine, April 2011
"Walking Spanish vocalist Alex Nelson has a rock and roll swagger reminiscent of Julian Casablanca."
-Stephanie Rodriguez, Sacramento News Interview, March 2011
"Some musicians are so good it makes me mad, case in point; Alex Nelson." Autumn Sky, Midtown Monthly Magazine, April 2009
"Their songs pay homage to great artists of the past while moving forward in a genre- mixing, fist-pumping affair that brings audiences of all ages to their feet."
-Andy Laughlin, "Spotlight; Walking Spanish", El Dorado Village Life Newspaper
Alexander Nelson - Guitar, keyboards, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocal
Tim Picchi - Bass Guitar, Background Vocal
Patrick Picchi - Drums, Cajon
Tom Gunterman - Violin, mandolin, Electric Violin, Background Vocal
"Wishbones" - LP, released 2011 (iTunes, etc)
-KFOG 104.5 (San Francisco Bay Area, CA)
-KZFR 90.1 (Chico, CA)
-KXJZ (NPR) (Sacramento, CA)
-KDVS 90.3 (UC Davis, CA)
-KVMR (Nevada City, CA)
-KFOK (Georgetown, CA)
-WCDB (Albany, NY)
"What if You Knew My Name" - Single, KFOG Local Scene Vol. 8, released 2011
"My Rainy Weather Girl" -Single, iTunes exclusive released Xmas 2010
"Not Yet Now" - LP, released 2007
Radio/ Interview :
-NPR 90.9 (Sacramento, CA)
-KDVS 90.3 (UC Davis, CA)
-KSSU (CSU Sacramento)
What If You Knew My Name
Jacksin (is long gone)
Sweet Cherry Lane
Amor Vincit Omnia
A Soldier's Lullaby
Spotlight On: Walking Spanish
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We are extremely fortunate to have caught up to Alex Nelson of Walking Spanish. Nelson is the band’...We are extremely fortunate to have caught up to Alex Nelson of Walking Spanish. Nelson is the band’s singer, songwriter and guitarist The band has been enthusiastically received by music critics as well as a multitude of fans.
Pamela Youngs of Steel-Ties.com band review describes Walking Spanish “as falling nothing short of full speed ahead. This mixed genre of fresh talent, sound, attitude will surprise and please your music palate, regardless of how far you’ve walked and danced barefoot through the halls of time. They’re that good.”
If you aren’t already familiar with Walking Spanish, we think you will agree with Pamela once you learn a little bit about them and hear their music.
Alex, how did your band get together?
I first started Walking Spanish as a teenager in high school with some of my friends. The current band line up joined some years after. The first one of the current band to join was our bassist, Tim Picchi, back when we were 18 or so. We made our first LP in 2007 as a trio with just us and a drummer. Then in 2009, we added Chris Haislet on the keyboard and Tom Gunterman on the violin for extra flavor. In 2010, Tim’s younger brother, Patrick Picchi joined us on the drums.
I’ve looked up the definition of “Walking Spanish” and it has several definitions. What do you tell people it means when they ask you?
Well, I originally heard the phrase “Walking Spanish” the same place most anyone did on Tom Waits’ “Rain Dogs” album. But when I first heard the song Walking Spanish, I wanted to know more, so I googled it (of course) and came up with several historical references regarding the phrases true meaning. The best one I found is on urbandictionary.com, somewhere near the bottom of the page amongst the different entries for “Walking Spanish” . When people ask me why the band is called “Walking Spanish” I say, “Well, it sounds cool, doesn’t it?” Ha ha!
What is your latest album and can you tell us about an inspiration/s for some of your songs?
The latest Walking Spanish album is titled “Wishbones”, and was released in Spring of 2011.
Here is a link to the album: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wishbones/id427010914
Whatever I could tell you as far as what truthfully INSPIRED the songs would certainly vary, but the album has a definite overall sense of longing, or “wishing”. I titled it “Wishbones” to symbolize this theme; each song is a testament to an old “wish” for a lover, forgiveness, freedom, or even retribution, and the sting of disappointment which can result from the illusory promises such things offer.
If you could share a stage with anyone who would it be?
Depends, is it a Walking Spanish show or their show? I’d really like to try to keep up with my favorite guitarist, Derek Trucks, on stage someday.
Your band has been together for a while now, what is your advice for new bands for getting fans exposed to their music?
GIGS GIGS GIGS. Play for your family and all your friends, get them to bring their friends, co-workers, neighbors, anyone! Get folks to your show. If you’ve got enough original material, make a record however you can, and then play more GIGS GIGS GIGS. That’s not a secret formula, really, it’s just all a band can do nowadays. Online videos and photos, etc. are also important tools for being accessible to the public.
If you could go back in time when your band first got together, what one piece of advice would you give yourself?
Band dynamics are very similar to a family’s dynamics, and so anyone with a brother or sister knows why it’s important to NOT TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY during disagreements.
You are a Sacramento based band, what do you like about living and performing in Sacramento?
Sacramento has some of the most underrated local music and art in the state, plus has many of our favorite cl
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Walking Spanish’s sophomore album Wishbones strikes a balance Words by Jenn Walker You could say...Walking Spanish’s sophomore album Wishbones strikes a balance
Words by Jenn Walker
You could say Alex Nelson lives a scattered lifestyle. Somewhere in between picking up freshly pressed CDs, getting car steering fluid and heading to a wedding rehearsal dinner, the frontman of local band Walking Spanish found time to sit down over coffee and discuss the upcoming release of his band’s second album, Wishbones. It seems Nelson is ready to adapt to whatever situation is thrown his way. At his heel lay a backpack holding his computer, a change of clothes, cigarette coupons and a flask of bourbon, amongst other things. The first half of the following day would be spent as a groomsman in the wedding of a close friend, while the latter would be spent playing a show at Old Ironsides alongside Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.
Walking Spanish has become the centerpiece of Nelson’s life since he first formed the band with two friends in high school. Eventually he made it his own, writing all of the songs and assuming the role as band manager. The band’s evolution is apparent in Wishbones, he said. It is a versatile blend of well-structured songs, combining country, rock ‘n’ roll and pop, littered with subtly haunting, poetic verse.
After listening to the album, I met with him again outside Luigi’s Slice as he polished off a piece of pizza over the hood of his Honda just an hour before band practice.
Here is what the soon to be 23-year-old had to say about the new album, songwriting inspiration and maturing.
In terms of this record that’s coming out, how would you say it compares to the first record, or what should the fans expect? How do you think they’ll react?
I think they’re gonna go, “Whoa,” because it’s much different. I mean it’s still rock ‘n’ roll music but there is a lot more to this record. You’re listening to my songwriting and our band’s level of musicianship and our level of creativity. All those things, all those elements between this record and the first record, it’s, at least in my opinion, signs of maturing. To me, that means, just basically, that it’s better. [Laughs] To me, that just means that I’ll listen to a song and just be like, “Aw man. That’s a way better song than what I would’ve written when I was 18.”
Can you tell me a little bit about the song “Counterfeit Wishbones?” What inspired it?
I can tell you the emotion that arises from me is the feeling of being caged, and the idea of the “Counterfeit Wishbones,” you had chances to get out of the cage, but they were just counterfeit. When I was teaching this song to the band, I said I want this to sound like a tiger trying to get out of a cage. So I guess that’s kind of the theme of that one. As far as the lyrics go, the lyrics were inspired by, well, I’m not really sure. You’d have to dig really deep into my psyche to find out where those came from.
So why did you title the album after it?
I thought it would be kinda cool. I thought Wishbones sounded cool. Every song I write is like a piece of my mind, and if I’m putting out my words and my ideas out into the world, it’s almost like a wish. So Wishbones is kind of a neat voodoo thing that kind of has that whole theme attached to it. But it’s also like wishbones, there’s a winner and a loser. Which is kind of the way I look at the world, everything that’s good has its counterpart somewhere in the world, whether it’s directly related or not. There’s balance to everything.
So was there an inspiration for the song “Jacksin?”
Yeah. It’s kind of the same way that it’s fun to play video games where you shoot people, because you don’t really get to do it in real life. It’s kind of the same way I like to write a song. I wanted to get into the place to tell a story about an experience that I’ve never experienced and an experience that I don’t ever hope to experience, but by singing about it and trying to write from the standpoint of somebody who’s like that, and went through that kind of a situation
Walking Spanish wins Sacramento Area Music Award for Best Rock band of 2010!
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Walking Spanish wins a Sammy By Andy Laughlin Leave Comment Sports and entertainment editor ...Walking Spanish wins a Sammy
By Andy Laughlin
Sports and entertainment editor
El Dorado Hills-borne rockers Walking Spanish reached a new step toward notoriety earlier this month when they brought home a coveted Sammy (Sacramento Area Music) Award for best rock band.
For those out of the loop, the Sammies have become a milestone for local recognition for musicians performing in all genres since their creation in the mid Ô90s. The award process entails peer nominations, followed by a series of promotional performances, voting by fans and a final award ceremony in the fall.
Walking Spanish guitarist and lead singer Alex Nelson, 22, was surprised when he found out via a Facebook post over the summer that his band had been nominated.
ÒI didnÕt even know ahead of time,Ó he said. ÒThis friend of ours posted a comment, Ôhey, congratulations on the Sammy nomination.Õ That was the first I heard of it.Ó
He was even more taken aback when the band was announced as a winner during last weekendÕs award ceremony and concert, held outdoors with free admission along the R Street corridor in true block party fashion (a departure from the familiar Òblack tieÓ ticketed affair at the Crest Theatre in past years).
ÒThere were something like, 10 bands in the category, which is really, really broad to begin with,Ó he said. ÒPrieta, The Phantom Jets, The Inversions ... all very popular bands who I have tons of respect for. When they called our name, I just couldnÕt believe we won.Ó
Besides Nelson, Walking Spanish is bassist Tim Picchi, drummer Robert Mills, Christopher Haislet on keys and Tom Gunterman on electric violin.
Recently, PicchiÕs younger brother, Patrick, has been filling in on drums when Mills, who currently lives in the Bay Area, has been unavailable to play in Sacramento.
ÒPatrick is 17 years old and already an incredible drummer,Ó Nelson said. ÒHe and Rob have very different, complimentary styles. Patrick brings a lot of power to the band, while Rob is very intricate. We got called back for three encores the last time he played with us at MarylinÕs ... that never really happened before.Ó
The Sammies are organized every year by Sacramento News and Review. Contenders are nominated by their peers and ultimately chosen through votes tallied from fans, putting the selection process in the hands of fans instead of appointed judges like other similar contests.
The award was a satisfying closeout to a busy summer for the band, Nelson said, that included a week long Òmini tourÓ of Northern California and extensive work on the bandÕs next CD, due out at the end of January.
Walking SpanishÕs short tour consisted of dates at BerkeleyÕs Starry Plough, Santa CruzÕs Catalyst (they played the venueÕs small stage while the infamous Ted Nugent put a ÒStrangleholdÓ on the big roomÕs crowd), San FrancisoÕs Carnivale celebration and a the unlikely venue of a barn in Pescadero.
ÒThe barn show was really different,Ó Nelson said. ÒIt was at this farm owned by an equestrian rider Ñ you know, the guys who show and jump horses Ñ named Kelly McNight. We played in the barn facing auditorium-style, hay bale seating. There was plenty of beer and we all camped out overnight. It was a crazy, trippy great time.Ó When the band wasnÕt busy entertaining hipsters and grass-fed cattle they were hard at work on their as-yet-untitled CD in the San Francisco recording studio owned by NelsonÕs brother, Jackie Greene, and former The Mother Hips front man Tim Bluhm. The band worked under the direction of producer David Simon-Baker, whose recording resume includes albums produced for The Mother Hips and Los Lobos, Nelson said.
Always active, Walking Spanish can be found playing on any given weekend in Sacramento or surrounding areas. Check them out this Friday at Old Ironsides, Halloween night at the Town House (with Lite Brite and Children of the Grave) or Nov. 8 at the Press Club. Keep up with the band and give them a l
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"..Walking Spanish have a poetic jam-band, classic-rock vibe with some orchestral pops- It's a lush ..."..Walking Spanish have a poetic jam-band, classic-rock vibe with some orchestral pops- It's a lush and layered sound thanks to band members with backgrounds from every genre"
Walking Spanish LIVE in Store Performance
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“They’re fresh outta Sacramento with a sound that’s a little tough to pigeon-hole. It’s at once fami...“They’re fresh outta Sacramento with a sound that’s a little tough to pigeon-hole. It’s at once familiar, yet it’s loaded with fresh spin. Their name comes from a Tom Waits tune, there are moments that sound like they could be from the South, others where it could be 30 ago, and San Francisco, and yet still others when you’ll feel like there’s a completely different alt-rock club thing happening. We’ve been keeping an eye on them for most of the past year, and we’re pretty stoked to be part of their first California tour.”
Walking Spanish at The Torch!
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It's not every day you get a chance to see the next big thing before they blow up. It's more like...It's not every day you get a chance to see the next big thing before they blow up.
It's more like every fourth or fifth day. . . depending on how many gigs Walking Spanish is playing that week.
This week, four is the magic number. They are playing Wednesday night at The Torch Club, following up Saturday night's gig at The Naked Lounge.
View slideshow: Walking Spanish at The Torch!
Walking Spanish recently released my favorite album of 2011, "Wishbones," and may not be long for venues as small and awesome as these.
Alex Nelson (lead singer, guitarist and songwriter) and the boys (Timothy Picchi on bass, Christopher Haislet on keys, Robert Mills II on drums and Thomas Gunterman on violin) put on a phenomenal, high-energy rock show, peppering their staggeringly good original material with a variety of tasty covers that included Mother Hips, Allman Brothers and Depeche Mode.
These guys are going to be stars. I'm going to be able to say that I saw them "way back when." Will you?
Walking Spanish plays the Torch Club on Wednesday, April 20. Tickets are $4.00.
You read that correctly.
I'll see you on the dance floor.
Wishbones – a fresh break for Walking Spanish
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Wishbones – a fresh break for Walking Spanish ?By Pamela Youngs Contributing writer for Steel Ti...Wishbones – a fresh break for Walking Spanish
?By Pamela Youngs
Contributing writer for Steel Ties
Walking Spanish is in the right place at the right time, with a mindset to move forward and shake it up. Their new CD, Wishbones, (released March 25) proves the point – motivation, passion, eclectic taste, go figure.
It was a sell-out crowd Friday night at Old Ironsides in Sacramento, California, the hot spot of a much anticipated album release celebration for band and fans alike.
With now two albums under their belt (Not Yet Now, 2007), Walking Spanish has taken four years to break into a more complex sound and attitude. The difference between their two albums is heard at the onset. Still, their talent and presence onstage continues to reverb with an echo diehard Walking Spanish fans can attest to at show time – one Facebook fan posted “Old I [Ironsides] is still smoking for the fire that was Walking Spanish last night!!!”
Front man and founding member Alex Nelson, who recently turned 23, has analyzed, categorized and finalized a list of tasks well into the night and through to the next day. He sounds like an all-time pro twice his age. During the production of Wishbones, Nelson talked of the smooth pace and fun involved in putting together the new album, but even his best to the test leaves something for fine tuning. “I have to change a few things that are bugging me about it. Some guitar parts I know I can do better,” he said.
Walking Spanish - LtoR: Tom Gunterman, violin; Alex Nelson, lead guitars/vocals/songwriter; Chris Haislet, piano/organ/keyboards; Tim Picchi, bass
Photo by Brian Nelson
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? Along with Nelson, who takes on guitars and vocals, and also wrote all the songs for Wishbones, is Tim Picchi on bass; Chris Haislet on piano, organ, keyboards; Tom Gunterman on violin and Rob Mills, drums. The album was produced by Jackie Greene, who steps into the family circle of true blood as brother of our lead man, and for a few tracks with organ, piano, background vocals. When asked lately what it was like to work with Greene, Nelson said it was a great experience to be teaming up with his brother since they easily share ideas and give feedback the two can understand.
“The Simple Moves” is this writer’s choice for words and random sound. “I love the way Track 7 turned out,” Nelson said. “We spent a lot of time re-thinking how we wanted it to sound, so I’m very happy to hear you like the final cut.” Asked if there is a story behind the lyrics – “It wasn’t really inspired by anything in particular, it was about mood words,” he said, adding, “Some of the other songs may have more specifically derived inspirations behind them, but “The Simple Moves” was pretty simple.”
Nelson confidently summed it up post album release party. “My feelings that night were of gratitude for the past, excitement for the future, and an insatiable love of the present,” he said.
It’s a safe bet Walking Spanish will fall nothing short of full speed ahead. This mix genre of fresh talent, sound, attitude will surprise and please your music palate, regardless of how far you’ve walked and danced barefoot through the halls of time. They’re that good.
Walking Spanish, "Wishbones"
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In late February I went to a show at Old Ironsides, my first. I had come to see Nicki Bluhm and the ...In late February I went to a show at Old Ironsides, my first. I had come to see Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, an Americana rock group from San Francisco that I had previously seen absolutely dominate a set at High Sierra Music Festival.
The other two acts on the bill were local bands Honyock and Walking Spanish. It's not surprising that a band with a nationwide reputation and fan base would enlist a couple local stalwarts to join them on stage and ensure a packed house.
What was surprising, to me at least, was that Walking Spanish wasn't opening for Nicki Bluhm. Nicki Bluhm was opening for Walking Spanish.
Knowing what an incredible show the Gramblers put on, I was skeptical (apprehensive?) that the young bucks would be able to follow them without being overshadowed. There are many a big name national act who would pale by comparison, and there's no shame in it. Nicki and the boys are just that good.
As it turned out, my concerns were unfounded. Alex Nelson (lead singer, guitarist and songwriter) and the boys (Timothy Picchi on bass, Christopher Haislet on keys, Robert Mills II on drums and Thomas Gunterman on violin) were more than up for the challenge. They played a phenomenal set, brilliantly opening with a Mother Hips cover, a nod to Tim Bluhm, founding member of the Hips, the Gramblers and Nicki's husband. They also played a Depeche Mode cover, which is always a good decision.
Where they really impressed, however, was with their original songs, many of which were from their upcoming album, "Wishbones."
Walking Spanish is throwing its "Wishbones" release party Friday at Old Ironsides. I was able to procure a copy of the album in advance, and boy howdy, it's a barn burner.
Their eponymous debut (2006) had flashes of brilliance, displaying their skill as musicians, but was raw, unpolished. Their new album has no holes. It is a complete work. "Wishbones" is the kind of album that you can listen to from start to finish, on repeat, and I've been doing just that.
The songs are fully developed. The solos and interludes are searing but restrained, integral to the songs. It's all about the songs on this record.
The album starts with "What If You Knew My Name?" a key-heavy toe-tapper whose poppy sensibilities belie its lamenting lyrics. The song is broken up with a fantastic instrumental interlude vaguely reminiscent of the "Layla" coda. Awesome.
Up next is "Sarah Marie," which is a great example of Nelson's growth as a songwriter. What begins as a slow, bluesy ode to the titular young lady becomes something very different. The song picks up pace steadily through the first four verses before entering an intermezzo momentarily reminiscent of San Francisco's Jellyfish, from which they emerge with crushing staccato power cords and then a prog rock guitar riff that leads back to whence they had come. It ends with Nelson issuing a warning, "Your days are numbered/ better start to count." All this in a 2:35 song. One of the best tracks on the album.
"Jacksin (Is Long Gone)" is another one. It's the rare rock song that makes good use of an accordion and has a bouncy, almost polka-esque theme running throughout. The song tells the story of a veteran who finds his lady with another man, with tragic results. Nelson extends himself as a storyteller on "Jacksin", and the band extends themselves as well with several instrumental interludes of varying styles.
"Sweet Cherry Lane" is a mournful, poignant ballad to love lost. "I watched the mountain crumble as your heart forgot my name," Nelson sings. "The picture frames are being emptied now/ what a cheap memory."
The album takes its name from the fifth track, "Counterfeit Wishbones." As good as it is on the album (very), the rollicking power rocker is better live, as it affords the band such an opportunity to extend the already crunchy instrumental jams, bringing the crowd to theretofore unfound heights. I remember it well from last month and look forward to
Walking Spanish now on SF Bay Area's KFOG 104.5!
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The opening track of our latest album, “What if You Knew My Name?” appears on California Bay Area...The opening track of our latest album,
“What if You Knew My Name?” appears on California Bay Area KFOG’s 104.5/97.7 Local Scene 8 CD!
You can get your copy online at:
Be sure to call-in and request your favorite Walking Spanish song as well!
For a list of track names via KFOG Artist Info:
Final Friday: Walking Spanish
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“…Nelson’s almost-British Isles romantic sensibility aligns with Americana instrumentation. Mix in h...“…Nelson’s almost-British Isles romantic sensibility aligns with Americana instrumentation. Mix in his keening, Western United States savored articulation, and the band’s ability to give dramatic surge, this music raises the bar in Sacramento.”
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