Review of Seamist / El Capitan

“The most chilled thing not actually served  over ice.

– Martin Ruddock, Shindig Magazine
BASICS
Based in Los Angeles, CA
From Nevada County, CA
Genre: #FolkRock  #Americana #Singer/Songwriter #Jam
Independent Studio/Label: Mountain Sounds Recorders
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THE CALIFORNIA GESTALT, VIA THE MEADOW ROUTE

MEADOW ROCK is the debut album from singer/songwriter Joe Bourdet. Optimistic, inviting, brimming with natural beauty, but in total existential crisis, much like his home state of California, MEADOW ROCK is a place of contradictions.  The sound of the album, like the theme, is very natural. Music called MEADOW ROCK, after all, should be as easy on the ears as a virgin alpine meadow, and that it is.  This is due to the careful diligence in recording and mixing done primarily by Bourdet himself in his home studio near Los Angeles, CA, with portions of engineering also done by his long time collaborator Jason Soda.  It is also due to Bourdet’s insistence that little to no limiting be applied to the mixes or masters.  This has the effect of preserving the micro dynamics of the music, and avoiding the shallow imaging and harsh artifacts of modern “industry standard” productions, the tradeoff being that MEADOW ROCK plays quieter than contemporary pop releases in apparent loudness.  However, a small upward turn of the gain control on your stereo rectifies this intentional idiosyncrasy and reveals to the listener a record of surprising dynamics for its genre.    

 

The sonic profile of the album harkens strongly to the early to mid 70s folk-rock and singer/songwriter era, the Laurel Canyon sound, as it is popularly known.  The vocals are folk vocals, unassuming, unaffected, untrained and, where vibe over precision prevails, not adverse to straying from perfect intonation.  The presence of several female voices in support of Bourdet’s is a big feature, Mimi Michel lends a cosmic country feel to the songs El Capitan and Call You Friend,  whilst Alana Amram, who co-wrote Lost Along the Way, evokes the darker shades of The Mamas and The Papas. Guitar being Bourdet’s primary instrument, they are liberally applied throughout these compositions. The acoustics use some natural ambience where possible, and strive toward clarity and realism.  The electric guitars frequently employ the swirling effect of a spinning Leslie speaker cabinet, and betray a fondness for various melodic guitar heroes; George Harrison, Joe Walsh, Duane Allman, and David Lindley.  The rhythm sections are anchored variously by three distinctive drummers, the Memphis grooves of George Sluppick, the muted Nigel Olsson-esque fills and rock power of Will Scott, and the flowing and creative folk rock flourishes of Justin Smith.  Long time collaborator Brian Filosa chugs along joyously on bass on many of the songs as well.  

 

Another technical item of note is that the album, although digitally captured in high resolution, did not use any computer generated instruments or samples.  All the instruments you hear are real, most of them vintage, and many were painstakingly restored and modified by Bourdet himself.  Furthermore, to complete a sonic profile befitting a folk rock album titled MEADOW ROCK, the music was mixed to analog tape (1/4” two track at 15ips, SM900 tape stock at +6 reference level).  Consequentially, you will hear a gentle tape hiss throughout the album, continuous and uninterrupted, like a mountain stream through the meadow.

COMPLETE ALBUM CREDITS

Recorded at Mountain Sounds Recorders, and Palomino Sound, Los Angeles, CA.
Engineered by Joe Bourdet and Jason Soda.  *LOST ALONG THE WAY engineered by Dave Lindsay at Country Club Studios, NYC, drums and other overdubs at Mountain Sounds Recorders.
Copyright (c) 2021

Digital Mastering - Dave Collins.    
Vinyl Mastering - Kevin Gray                
Photography - Sara Ross-Samko
Layout and design - David Burden
Title graphics - Michael Dozal

 

1- SONGBIRD REVISITED- (by Joe Bourdet) Mountain Sounds (ASCAP)
Justin Smith -Drums
Brian Filosa - Bass
Jason Soda - Slide Guitar Solo Left
Joe - Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Hammond Organ, Slide Guitar Solo Right, Vocals 

 

2- UNWRITTEN STORY - (by Thomas Hien and Joe Bourdet) Traveling West Music (ASCAP) & Mountain Sounds (ASCAP)
Will Scott- Drums
Joe - Guitars, Hammond Organ, Piano, Bass, Fender 6, Vocals

 

3- AMONGST THE PINES - (by Joe Bourdet) Mountain Sounds (ASCAP)
Justin Smith - Drums
Brian Filosa - Bass
Jason Soda - Electric Guitar
Dave Baine - Mandolin
Joe - Acoustic Guitars, High-Strung Guitar, Vocals

 

4- CALL YOU FRIEND - (by Joe Bourdet) Mountain Sounds (ASCAP)
Will Scott - Drums
Mimi Michel - Vocal
Joe - Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bass, Hammond Organ, Vocal

 

5- SEAMIST - (by Joe Bourdet) Mountain Sounds (ASCAP)
George Sluppick - Drums
Brian Filosa - Bass
Vic Martin - Fender Rhodes Piano
Joe -  Acoustic, High-Strung, and Slide Guitars , Vocals

 

6- EL CAPITAN - (by Joe Bourdet) Mountain Sounds (ASCAP)
George Sluppick - Drums
Brian Filosa - Bass
Mimi Michel - Vocal
Tim Walker - Pedal Steel Guitar
Jason Soda - Acoustic Guitar, Solo
Joe - Guitars, Moog Rogue, Vocal

 

7- MORNING LIGHT - (by Josh Schwartz) Sounds of The Space Shed (BMI)
Justin Smith - Drums
Rob Douglas - Double Bass
Joe - Guitars, Hammond Organ, Vocal

 

8- LOST ALONG THE WAY -(by Alana Amram and Joe Bourdet) Alanasaurus Rex (SESAC) & Mountain Sounds (ASCAP)
Will Scott - Drums
Alana Amram - Bass, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Vocal
Joe - Acoustic Guitars, Vocal, Bass

 

9- MANTRA  - (by Joe Bourdet)  Mountain Sounds (ASCAP) 
Amy Blaschke -  Vocal
Wayne Faler - Vocal
Mimi Michel - Vocal
Will Scott - Drums
Brian Filosa - Bass
Jason Borger - Fender Rhodes Piano
Jason Soda - Slide Guitar Lead Left
Joe - Guitars, Moog Rogue, Slide Guitar Lead Right 

For Marilyn, Al, Julian, Fantasi, lil' Town, and Leigh, thanks for your patience.

PHOTOS  (c) Sara Ross-Samko
VIDEO 'LOST ALONG THE WAY' 
 
Label:
Mountain Sounds Recorders - Music and Audio Services, 323 605-9577
PR:
Direct press Inquires to 
Monica Hopman at Sideways-Media
monica@sideways-media.com
REPRESENTATION
VIDEO 'AMONGST THE PINES'