mardi 9 avril 2013
Fortunate one + Guilty - new tracks from brand new album of David Hillyard!!!!!!!!!
California is an album full of stories that legendary saxophonist, David Hillyard, has been waiting 43 years to tell. Growing up in San Diego, moving to Los Angeles, and then to New York City, he has been saving these songs for years, waiting for the right time to release. Dave has had a long bi-coastal career in Ska music. Growing up in San Diego, he started one of the west coast's early ska bands, The Donkey Show. He then went on to Los Angeles, and played with Hepcat and was featured on their classic debut album, Out of Nowhere. In 1992, he moved to New York City, and soon afterwards joined the Slackers. He has been a prominent fixture on their 12 albums and 1,000s of live shows. In between Slackers' tours, he has also found time to play on another 5 albums by David Hillyard & the Rocksteady 7 plus has guested on music by Rancid, Stubborn All-Stars, Skinnerbox, West Bound Train, and literally dozens of other bands. Although, Dave is known primarily as a saxophonist, Jazziz summed it up by saying, "Hillyard Can Play", he has also been a songwriter and arranger, and this side of Dave is what is featured on California. Moving easily between reggae, jazz, ska, blues, soul, rocksteady, and country, Dave has shown a intuitive command of the commonalities between all these musics and created a textured and original sounding album. He explains, "on California, I wanted to find the common denominator of all the musicians that have influenced me the most like The Skatalites, The Upsetters, Johnny Cash, Curtis Mayfield, John Coltrane, and the Heptones." "This year is also the year where I have lived the same amount of time on the east coast as the west coast (around 22 years in each). I was looking back at my earlier times and where I've come from as well as where I'm going. I've been lucky to be a part of so many great musical communities." On California, Dave has dipped into this resevoir of friends and put together a dream team of musicians to execute his vision. For producer, he chose Brian Dixon, the architect of the Aggrolites’ sound. He then picked some of the best west coast vocalists he knew to sing the songs including Greg Lee and Alex Desert of Hepcat, Jesse Wagner of The Aggrolites, Devin Morrison of The Expanders,and Sean Wheeler of Throwrag. The singers are backed by an all-star band of musicians that include members of The Slackers, Rocksteady 7, Hepcat, Expanders, Phenomenauts, Whisky Avengers, Mr Tbone, Kings Go Forth, and Los Hot Boxers. Dave says, "what I'm trying to do is mix the smoothness of the West Coast sound with the edge of the east coast sound. Brian Dixon has been behind the edgiest of the West Coast sounds and I've been on the smooth side of the East Coast, so I figured we could meet in the middle and have a good record. " "The Saxophone is the only instrument I play with any proficiency, so I had to rely on my friends to make this album work. I am lucky that I know so many good singers and musicians. I recorded demos where I sketched out the vocal lines, the rhythms, and the chords but I left it up to my friends to fill in the blanks. We talked a lot about the mood of certain songs and tried to capture that with the basic rhythm section tracks. Then we would build textures on top of that." "These songs are all stories from when I used to live in California. It’s the sound of an older guy looking back at his youth, not really nostalgically because a lot of the stories aren't happy ones, but trying the find the truth of those times. 'Baby Smile' is about my grandfather coming from Kentucky to California, 'Fortunate One' is about me and my dad, I see it as the opposite of what we did with the Slackers in 'Rude and Reckless.' 'Oldies' is about high school, and of course there are numerous songs about ex-girlfriends like 'Guilty', 'Pulling String', 'You Don't Care.' " The covers that Dave has re-arranged are also interesting. 'Green Dolpin Street' is a jazz standard that he used to play with Hepcat but never had a chance to record. 'Wont Back Down' is a Tom Petty cover that is reworked into a reggae beat. "Tenderly' is a romantic nod to both Ska and classic American ballads at the same time. Sometimes, the album sounds like The Slackers, sometimes the album sounds like Hepcat, but mostly the album just sounds like Dave Hillyard. It sums up everything he has recorded to this point and points to what he will record in the future. The album is being put out by Big Tunes a new and innovative that uses a combination of crowd funding and traditional record company methods (www.bigtun.es) - Steve Bordin -March 2013