REVIEW: Glorietta’s Self Titled Debut is Grunge Indie Americana Mixed Commentary on Music and Friendship


It would be accurate, and perhaps even kind, to say that, across rock history, supergroups are a mixed bag. For every Temple of the Dog or Traveling Wilburys, there’s a Velvet Revolver, a Damn Yankees, a (gulp) Chickenfoot or a (gag) NKOTBSB (it happened – look it up). They usually end up as vanity projects for those with not enough true talent to justify such a project. Americana, however, is new enough on the music scene to have few true examples of this mishmash (Google “Americana supergroups,” and the interwebs will reply with a collective “huh?”). I’m With Her springs to mind, and the trio of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan has made some lovely music. Now, Glorietta is taking a stab at the genre, and the project is truly interesting,

The band’s self-titled debut assembles Matthew Logan Vasquez (of Delta Spirit), Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child), David Ramirez, Adrian Quesada (Brown Out, Black Pumas) and Jason Robert Blum. Like its membership, the album is a mix of Americana and indie rock.

The first song, “Loser’s Lament”, written and sung by Blum, begins with the grunge and echo of a garage band and addresses the myth of American exceptionalism, uttering the oft-repeated bromide, “Anybody can win if they choose.” Later in the album, “Mindy” (penned and voiced by Wilson and Vasquez) also takes a political (and decidedly anti-conservative) bent: “Figures of fortune on Fifth Avenue/Saving the world through the white man’s view.”

More on the country/Americana side are tales of relationship woes and personal shortcomings. “Golden Lonesome” (words and vocals by Gundersen) cuts to the core of loneliness – “Goddamn this cold and lonely feeling” – and longing – “It takes a real good woman/To make a mess of a man.” Country rocker “Hard Way” (written and sung by Ramirez) is the album’s lyrical downer: “Before I get it right/I’m gonna be a dead man.”

The best songs, though, comment on what brought this band together in the first place: music and friendship. Simply titled “Friends”, the Vasquez penned song, with gentle acoustic guitar, travels the ups and downs of close friendship: “I know the reason for every lyric that you wrote.” Friend of the band Nathaniel Rateliff contributes words and voice to “I Know”, a bluesy tune with an almost psych-metal instrumental coda. And the Western-sounding “Lincoln Creek” (written by Blum, sung by Vasquez) tells us that, even with all the struggles these friends have gone through, they realize that not everyone makes it in music, even on this band’s relatively modest scale:

Somewhere, someone is singin’ for free

The tab and a coupla 20s is all they need

Somewhere, someone is singin’ for free

Thank God it ain’t me

The album, produced by Vasquez and Quesada, also features musical contributions from Rateliff’s fellow Night Sweats Patrick Meese (drums), Luke Mossman (guitar), and Mark Shusterman (keys). Also jumping in are frequent Vasquez collaborators Judson Johnson (percussion) and Brendan Bond (trumpet), as well as Los Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin. A lot of influences, to be sure, but it makes for a more than promising debut.  Get your copy here and check it out:

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