Joe Bourdet – Meadow Rock
Indeed, a throwback to the 70s acoustic-folk style, which never really went out of style. James Taylor & Jackson Browne are still around.
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Joe Bourdet provides some high-end lead guitar tone that is endearing alongside his mellow vocal style on his debut CD. Joe’s steeped in the styles once the territory of artists such as Jesse Winchester, Eric Andersen, Norman Greenbaum & Jesse Colin Young.
For young ears, this music may be too sublime. To older nostalgic ears its singer-songwriter heaven with poignancy, good tales, tight musicianship & melodies – more homegrown & organic in nature.
Meadow Rock (Drops June 18–Mountain Sounds Recorders) with “Seamist,” is one of the more compelling Bourdet songs with country tailoring mixed with Beach Boys ambiance. You heard right. It’s not the kind of music that’s exciting like a Bob Dylan but definitely has an element of chill out, relaxation, & with the ability to allow one to disappear into the music in the spirit in which it was made. This song borders on a Grateful Dead cosmic country groove as well. It features Joe (acoustic/high-strung, slide guitars/vocal) with George Sluppick (drums), Brian Filosa (bass) & Vic Martin (Fender Rhodes piano).
Bourdet takes along with him the tradition of groups like Quicksilver Messenger Service, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Fifth Avenue Band (“Fast Freight”) & West (“Six Days on the Road” on Epic Records/YouTube). Young people could possibly become interested through the intricate acoustic guitar playing that shines throughout.
“El Capitan,” with its rural countrified manner is a wonderful song in the tradition of Hog Heaven’s (“Come Away” from Rhino). Yes, lots of past references but it’s a good thing – Bourdet is on the right path because his repertoire style has had success in the distant past & Joe’s not imitating. More use of Mimi Michel’s vocals would be a plus – she adds brief color to this song effectively & little things like her voice reshape the genre to a signature sound. Along with the other musicians mentioned above is Tim Walker (pedal steel guitar), & Jason Soda (acoustic guitar solo).
Not all songs are so much country as folk. Many are simplistic but have their own special sizzle. Nothing can be construed as boring unless you’re a metalhead & expecting pyrotechnics. The songwriting is strong, not compelling or edgy, just entertaining & easy going. The tunes do have an air of nostalgia since they can be sung in a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tradition. “Lost Along the Way,” specifically inspired. “Mantra” closes with a sound dug up from the ruins of late 60s, early 70s groups like Poco.
Fortunately, Joe does not write his songs with hippie-dippy spaced-out scenarios. This work is more ambitious. It has a late-night rock FM groove. I’d punch up the backup vocals but — it’s a good composition.
The 9-cut, 35-minute CD was recorded in LA & is available @ https://www.joebourdet.com/
B&W Photo courtesy of Sara Ross-Samko