The Easy Leaves
Gig Seeker Pro

The Easy Leaves

Santa Rosa, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Santa Rosa, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Country Americana




"WATCH: The Easy Leaves, 'Fresno'"

California duo The Easy Leaves are known for their psychedelic take on twangy folk, one that is as informed in equal parts by a wide variety of artists (Smokey Robinson and Bob Wills, to name a couple) as it is the storied landscape of northern California. Their latest video, "Fresno," off their upcoming EP of the same title, distills those influences into one easy, breezy viewing experience. Directed by Frank Door, the video blends studio footage with found footage of California's Central Valley, making for a '70s-indebted, decidedly trippy visual that perfectly complements the lilting, plaintive nature of the tune.

"By the time Sage and Kevin went in to record the Fresno EP, I was fortunate enough to have built a strong friendship with the duo," Door tells The BGS. "We had shot several music videos together and I was lucky enough to be a part of some of the biggest moments they have had to date on stage. Outsidelands, Nashville, Yoakam ... you name it. Knowing the importance of the session at Prairie Sun, as well as the significance of recording there, we all knew it was time to do something as real and raw as the music they were about to record. So that's what we did. The video is nothing more than that, people who create together being comfortable enough to just do what we do well. The music speaks for itself. The video is just my version of being able to record with the boys. Tumble weeds and steel pedal, that's Fresno."

"I really like the psychedelic blending of images that Frank was able to achieve," the band's Sage Fifield adds. "I like to watch a music video and feel like I'm on mushrooms."

Can't argue with that.

Have your own little psychedelic experience and watch "Fresno" below. - The Bluegrass Situation

"The Easy Leaves Head for “Fresno” When the Work Is Done"

Like a couple of tired field hands headed toward a cold beer, the Easy Leaves sing a weary ode to letting loose in “Fresno.”

During their CMT Edge Live session, the duo explained what it’s like to hang around the vast fields of California’s Central Valley after all the work is done.

“Fresno, it’s a Central Valley town,” says singer Sage Fifield. “Most of (the area) is agricultural land, cattle land and then mountains. It’s like the big city down in the valley.

“There’s a lot of country going on down in California,” he continued. “I think this song is kind of like ‘Going to Jackson’ or something. You spend enough time up in the hills, you get an idea about ‘I’m gonna go somewhere and have some fun.’ It’s kind of like that idea.”

With his battered acoustic guitar and harmonica, Fifield sings in a quivering voice about finding a hole-in-the-wall, doing some fancy dancing and keeping at it till the sun comes up.

Meanwhile, Kevin Carducci fills in the blanks on stand-up bass and harmony vocals.

On Saturday (Jan. 3), the guys will host a fancy dancin’ party of their own with the third annual Western Winter Formal at the Great American Music Hall in their hometown of San Francisco.

But for those of us who’ll be stuck in the proverbial almond grove, enjoy this CMT Edge Live performance of the Easy Leaves’ “Fresno.” - CMT Edge

"The Easy Leaves Capture “The American” Spirit"

Just in time for the Fourth of July, California-based roots duo the Easy Leaves celebrate the quiet dignity of small-town folks in their new video for “The American.”

Songwriter Sage Fifield says the song is about “that small-town thing that happens when you live in a place for your whole life and all of the dramas of your life happen in that one town. I think it tries to capture the nostalgia of that kind of life.

“When (bassist Kevin Carducci) and I travel through valley towns here in California and throughout the West, we’re in the habit of doing a little research,” he continued. “Traveling around is great for that. You get to place things you’ve heard about, which is fun, and you learn about all the little towns’ claims to fame. I’m often tickled and surprised at what we find out. It’s such a big country that I always feeling like we’re just scratching the surface.”

Carducci is equally smitten by the charm of small-town U.S.A.

“Every town seems to have its claim to fame,” he said. “I saw the ‘World’s Largest Ball of Twine’ in Cawker City, Kansas. Castroville, California, is the ‘Artichoke Center of the World,’ and in Iowa, you can find the ‘World’s Largest Truck Stop.’ It’s like every place has the opportunity to be significant — no matter how dubious the distinction may seem to outsiders.

“It’s something of a phenomenon that seems pretty congruent with the all-American ideal that everyone should be given an opportunity to succeed, to be somebody. And I guess it works. Because if it weren’t for that ball of twine, I would have no idea where Cawker City is.”

Featuring portraits of real-life Americans standing in front of a gigantic flag, their video plays on the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words.

“The song resonated with the director, Frank Door,” Fifield said. “And he ran with it in his own way. There’s something really magical when that happens, I think. Having written the song and performed it hundreds of times, it’s hard for me to have anything resembling an outside or objective view on it. I love what he saw in it. … I feel like he captured that nostalgic quality perfectly.”

The tiptoeing track comes from the duo’s album American Times. Check out the Easy Leaves’ patriotic pride in their video for “The American.” - CMT Edge

"The Easy Leaves “Crack Another Bottle” for Bakersfield"

Northern California’s the Easy Leaves are a duo that channel the very essence of honky-tonk in their new video for “Crack Another Bottle.”

“To me, it’s sort of the opposite of self-medicating,” says guitarist Sage Fifield about the song. “It’s like, things are good overall, but still it’s fun to tie one on. Just another lovely pastime.”

With the refrain of “feelin’ good ain’t good enough this time,” the band found the perfect location to shoot the video for their boozy number — Twin Oaks Tavern in Penngrove, Calif.

“Twin Oaks has been open as a roadhouse for 90 years, and that is something special in itself,” says bass player Kevin Carducci. “It’s been a honky-tonk juke joint for a good spell of that, apparently with a lull in the ‘80s and ‘90s when it was said to be a pretty rough biker bar.

“Playing country music in a spot like that just feels right,” he continued. “It’s those exact kind of places that originally churned out that raw honky-tonk sound that has come to be identified with Bakersfield and California country music. Those kinds of roadhouses played a huge role in the development of the music we love. In my mind, you really can’t have one without the other.

“Of course, over the years, a lot of these old spots have closed down with many of them no longer standing, which is a damn shame. Though it does make it all the more special to see one like Twin Oaks thriving and keeping that history and spirit alive.”

Watch the Easy Leaves do their part to keep classic honky-tonk alive by shaking Twin Oaks Tavern to its foundation in their new video for “Crack Another Bottle.” - CMT Edge

"The (Easy) Leaves Are Happening"

When some folks talk of country music — or any genre, for that matter — there's sometimes a tendency to over-generalize. For some, country means the watered-down-power-pop-with-a-touch-of-twang that dominates the airwaves. While the Nashville hit factory tends to garner the most attention (and, alas, airplay), there are "schools" of country, just as East Coast/West Coast rivalries can be discerned in hip-hop (and jazz before that). There's that glossy Nashville variant and its mavericks (such as Johnny Cash and Bobby Bare); the somewhat more eclectic and roots-oriented Texas scene (Willie Nelson, Jimmie Dale Gilmore), and California's rough-and-tumble Bakersfield Sound, with its best-known exponents Buck Owens and Merle Haggard (and, of course, Dwight Yoakam and locals Red Meat). And let's not diss its bastard cousin, the SoCal-centered country rock scene (its granddaddy-band: the Gram Parsons-fronted Flying Burrito Brothers, with The Eagles being its most notorious exemplar) and its Bay Area cousin (The Grateful Dead, psychedelic icons with country leanings, and its spin-off The New Riders of the Purple Sage). Firmly between the two vectors of California country is a pair of Sonoma County farm lads collectively known as The Easy Leaves.

The Easy Leaves consist of Kevin Carducci (vocals, guitar) and Sage Fifield (vocals, bass), formed north of the Golden Gate in 2008. Initially, their intent was to form a traditionally oriented string band, but they found too many influences delightfully intruding — the towers of strength that are Bob Wills and Smokey Robinson were too powerful to be denied. Carducci's musical fires were stoked by "Bob Dylan, Hank Williams [and his progeny], the Beatles, The Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Gillian Welch, Otis Redding, George Jones," among others, he said. As for Fifield, he said, "I was into a lot of your characteristic classic rock radio stuff: Stones, Who, the Dead, Floyd, Zeppelin, but also some mellow songwriter stuff: John Prine, Cat Stevens, Kris Kristofferson. For a while I lived in Northwest Pennsylvania, where a former band-mate and I began frequenting a weekly bluegrass jam. Those jams were my first foray into the world of bluegrass, and it opened my ears to a whole new world of acoustic and country music."

The Easy Leaves' debut album, American Times, is most definitely country music, but it's colored and enriched by many thoroughly integrated influences. The Leaves' harmonies are resplendent with echoes of the great "brother" acts of country music: The Louvins, Everlys, and Glasers. The chugging locomotion of opener "Get Down" could almost be a cousin of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," but the merrily debauched lyrics betray the good-time inspiration of the Dead's and New Riders' cosmic cowboy ethos of the late Sixties and early Seventies. The mid-tempo sunshine of "Fool on a String" reflects a strong mid-1960s R&B influence, and the loping, amiably ominous "Better Get Off" could have come from Dylan & The Band's Basement Tapes collection.

The one aspect almost all songs on this collection share is the leanness of that Bakersfield sound, as defined by an engaging, cracking beat; the resolute twang of electric six-strings, the midnight-lonesome whine of a pedal steel guitar, and heartfelt singing with both the singer's heart and beer stains on his sleeve for the world to see. It's that relatively unadorned rawness that cuts across generations and genres. "I love music that has a sense of place: Memphis soul, Texas swing, conjunto, Delta blues," said Carducci. "Each one of those styles conveys a lot about the history of its place of origin. Bakersfield is one of those sounds, one of the signature sounds of California. There is a classic quality in the rhythm and instrumentation that kind of captures that spirit of a crowded honky-tonk [barroom]."

The Easy Leaves' appeal, too, cuts across demographics, from fedora-enhanced hipsters to the conventional country faithful. Said Fifield, "I've had people who don't identify with county at all say things like, 'I don't usually like country, but you guys won me over.'" The Leaves played this year's Outside Lands Festival, prompting Willie Nelson (who later played on the same stage) to suggest they "should play together again" (!), and this past summer they opened some shows for deep-voiced country guitar wizard Junior Brown to good response from the predominantly mainstream country audience. Further, one of the Leaves' videos has found a home on CMT (Country Music Television).

The Easy Leaves have toured as a duo and as part of a full band. For their upcoming show at the Great American Music Hall, Carducci said, "We'll be performing with a five-piece lineup, with Vicente Rodriguez on drums, Dave Zirbel on [electric] Telecaster [guitar], and Josh Yenne on pedal steel." Without a hint of compromise, The Easy Leaves' inclusive-yet-very-personal approach holds much appeal for fans of Steve Earle, Whiskeytown, The Avett Brothers, and Brad Paisley. - East Bay Express

"The Easy Leaves’ New Video Seasoned With Soul"

Sometimes musicians can be evasive or cryptic when you ask how a song came to be. That’s not the case with Kevin Carducci of the Easy Leaves, a roots duo based in the San Francisco area.

By email, he tells CMT Edge the message of “Fool on a String” was inspired by an ex-girlfriend, but the music and mood came from listening to the powerful soul singer James Carr:

“At the time, I had a job working at a plant nursery where I basically stood around all day seeding, pruning and listening to obscure old-school funk and soul records that my boss had on his iPod,” he explained. “Pretty sweet gig. I discovered a ton of great Southern soul and R&B stuff I’d never heard before and started digging deeper into all of it.

“One of the artists that I got hooked on was James Carr, who had a hit with ‘Dark End of the Street.’ He has this rich powerful baritone voice, and I got really into his tortured love songs like ‘You’ve Got My Mind Messed Up,’ ‘Love Attack’ and ‘Pouring Water on a Drowning Man.’ Lyrically, they read more like country tunes, and the instrumentation has a real country-style soul flavor to it.

“At the time, I was going through a tough breakup, and needless to say, I was into this kind of tortured love stuff. I think part of what really hooked me was the power and control that Carr seemed to derive from the pain of the songs. He meanders back and forth from fragile tenderness to commanding howls and spasms of emotional torment but remains completely in control the whole time. … It’s really classic stuff.

“It was while I was internalizing all this new (to me) music and the breakup that I churned out most of ‘Fool on a String,’ pretty much in a single sitting. I just stumbled onto the opening lyric while I was writing in bed one night, got excited about it and ran with it (the ‘messed up mind’ lyric in the first verse being an outright nod to James Carr). … A few weeks later, I played it at a gig, and it turned out my ex was in the crowd. She said she loved it and asked me to never play it again.”

Of course, her request was denied, as “Fool on a String” landed on the band’s newest album, American Times. Plus, they’ve completed a creative music video with director Frank Door. Check out the CMT Edge premiere of the Easy Leaves’ “Fool on a String.” - CMT Edge

"The Easy Leaves: Duo with 'country lilt'"

Kevin Carducci and Sage Fifield are the Easy Leaves, an acoustic duo that like to distill their eclectic music into "Americana rock and roll with a country lilt."

The Sonoma County duo started performing together in 2008. Carducci was a banjo player. When he bought an upright bass, he "kicked the banjo habit." That opened up their collaborative process. They have 10 great songs on their second release, "American Times," which came out in August.

For Friday's gig, they'll be accompanied by Josh Yenne and Skip Urmson. Guest musician Chris Lynch from the Brothers Comatose will play the fiddle.

Lineup: Kevin Carducci, vocals, upright bass; Sage Fifield, guitar, vocals; Josh Yenne, pedal steel; Skip Urmson, drums.
What is the main theme of your music?

SF: Celebration, the search to create meaning in the world, love, heartache, solitude and togetherness, gasoline, gold and fire.
How does living in the Bay Area affect your music?

SF: The local appreciation of what we do has enabled us to make a genuine go at playing our stuff regularly and to a variety of audiences. This is a culturally rich and vibrant place, with people actively engaged in the community, making things happen, and that provides us with some of the energy it takes to keep doing what we do.
What's the most important aspect to putting on a live show?

KC: Creating something that can engage everyone involved, both the band and the audience. Almost making it like a conversation, relaxed and fun and a real shared experience. Ideally, to be able to create a moment that is cohesively shared.
Which of your lyrics best defines your band and why?

SF: The chorus to "Get Down" comes to mind for me: "When I get up I wanna get down, get down again." It kinda captures the constant push and pull of life for me I think, and that seems like a big part of the whole creative process, which is huge.
How did the band come together?

SF: We started playing together regularly, swapping songs, and when Kevin started with the bass, things began to take off. Barley and Hops in Occidental was a regular spot for us for a while, and it's just been a steady progression to bigger and more varied venues, kinda word- of-mouth style.

Check it out:

Next gig: 9 p.m. Friday. With Tiny Television, Misisipi Mike. $15. Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., S.F. (415) 885-0750.

To be featured in Bay Area Bandwidth, you must have a confirmed gig coming up and a recording that readers can buy, download or listen to via a Web link. Then e-mail us at with: band or artist name, gig info, website and/or Myspace link, a one-paragraph bio that includes your lineup, city location, description of your sound and a link to your two best songs. Do not e-mail music files or other attachments.

- Tony DuShane E-mail: Twitter: @tonydushane - San Francisco Chronicle


The Easy Leaves (self-released)
American Times (June 2012 Omega/Redeye)

Fresno (Digital Single - Omega/Redeye 2015)



The Easy Leaves are very top of the Country heap here in San Francisco, headlining and filling big rooms (Great American Music Hall, The Independent, Mystic Theatre), main stage set at last year's Outside Lands Festival (Willie Nelson told them 'We should play together again'!), CMT premieres their videos ... But more to the point, they write, record, and perform incredible songs. Songs that are meticulously crafted, and have great capabilities of (just plain) moving people.  Under the guidance of Merle Haggard's music, and countless other important poets, The Easy Leaves have written their own great collection of poetry for the common man.   

The 78 Project, a documentary by Spike Lee's music supervisor currently on the festival circuit, recreating Alan Lomax's journey to capture important American Folk music on its home porches found, recorded, The Easy Leaves for their film (alongside Rosanne Cash,
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Loudon Wainwright III, Justin Townes Earl, Richard Thompson, John Doe of X, and other great talents). NPR, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times have featured it, and The Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and the Alan Lomax estate are active advisors.

The Easy Leaves have been hired as sole support on shows and runs by Dwight Yoakam, Ry Cooder & Ricky Skaggs, Junior Brown, Robert Earl Keen, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Asleep At The Wheel, Kasey Chambers, Blind Boys of Alabama, Jim Lauderdale, Los Lobos, Langhorne Slim, and Lake Street Dive.  The Easy Leaves are fantastic live! 

Finally, they're grounded (Sonoma County farm boys), low key, classy, charismatic, and professional aka They're a joy to have over to your place.

Band Members