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Good as Gold: Spanish Gold’s South of Nowhere

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 93% (14 Votes)

Sometimes new bands come along and they sound like they are long-established classic groups. It’s rare, but when it happens it is often the result of the accumulated experience of the members of the band, no exception with Spanish Gold’s 2014 release South of Nowhere. All members of the trio have great résumés from their work with former bands.

Day-Drinkin Relaxin

With the release of recent albums featuring drum machines, seemingly replacing very good drummers, it’s refreshing to hear the grooves set down by Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket).  There’s no hiding in a trio and Hallahan’s drums deserve the clear presence they are given on South of Nowhere. Guitarists Adrian Quesada (formerly of Grupo Fantasma) and lead vocalist Dante Schwebel (City and Colour, formerly of Hacienda) come together to make a solid trio, though their live act has other crew, including great keyboards, bass, and backup singing. Whether it’s on laid back tunes like “Day Drinkin” or on other, also fairly laid back, tunes like “Stay With Me” or the reggae inspired “Shangri La,” the members of Spanish Gold deliver solid, inspired work.

There are no full-out rockers on this album but there is a great groove throughout. These guys can play together. The lead off “One Track Mind” sounds like a classic early 70s release.  That sets the tone for the album.

You Haven't Heard It

The Rolling Stone hit it perfectly when they noted the similarity between “Out on the Street” and Rockwell’s 1984 hit “Somebody’s Watching Me,” though  Spanish Gold’s tune is much better. There will be familiar sounds for those who love both the 70s and the 80s on South of Nowhere—though this is absolutely a 2014 release and there is no rehashing of tired nostalgia.

Two of the best songs of this familiar-yet-new pattern are “Don’t Leave Me Dry” and “Movin On,” with their fusion of The Guess Who and Steve Miller Band—all the while being confidently Spanish Gold. That’s what you’ll hear, familiar and new, at once and all good. This is just a great album for people who like music.


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