Tag Archives: Poco

Blast From The Past – Beachwood Sparks

beachwood_sparks

The great thing about revisiting albums years later – especially ones that not everyone is talking about – is that you hear them differently and pick up new wavelengths. It’s almost ten years since Beachwood Sparks released their eponymous album, and while I still enjoy it I’m able to discover other subtleties in the music beyond the major touchstones I identified the first time around. From legacy bands like the Grateful Dead to more recent purveyors Apples In Stereo, it’s all about texture.

Here’s what I wrote for Cosmik Debris back in 2000…

Gram Parsons described his style as “Cosmic American Music”, and I suppose that if he were around to hear Beachwood Sparks, he’d let the quartet on his bus without a second thought.

A quick look at the graphics and titles would have you trot out Buffalo Springfield or The Flying Burrito Brothers as a touchstone, but the production and arrangements owe as much to inventive popmeisters like Brian Wilson and Mitch Easter. In fact, I imagine that if Easter or master knob-twiddler Brad Jones were sent back in time to produce Parsons, this would be the result. Except “Something I Don’t Recognize”, where he would need the Nesmith-led Monkees. Or “Old Sea Miner”, where only XTC would do.

Aw hell, Parsons would have gotten around, he was that kind of guy. And the fact that Beachwood Sparks pulls all of this off without painting themselves into a corner is a hell of a compliment.

The overall sound is psychedelic, dreamy introspection, with interludes like “Singing Butterfly” leading into more uptempo Byrds/Poco moments like “Sister Rose”. Of course, just when you’re safely in that mood, they toss in an aggressive fuzzbox guitar solo over a go-go beat just to throw you for a loop. “See On Three” recalls Wilco’s experimentation, but the dizzying signature changes are probably even outside of Tweedy’s methods.

“This Is What It Feels Like” is another time-travel song, sounding like a pop track that somehow leaked into the future from 1967 California. “The Reminder” eerily and beautifully recalls the innocence of Neil Young’s first records with its delicate guitar and lilting vocals. Individually, these are wonderfully realized moments; as an album, it’s a mental watercolor painting that will dance with your imagination.

I had mixed feelings about their follow-up album, but I love the debut as much today as I did ten years ago. So if you haven’t savored this one yet, please do. And keep your eyes open – supposedly they will release a new album soon (it’s been an eight year drought!)

Beachwood Sparks on Amazon.

Beachwood Sparks on MySpace

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Groundhog Press on Groundhog Day

Over the past eighteen months I’ve read quite a few good books on the birth of country-rock and the bands at the heart of the movement. I’m hoping this Poco tome is a worthy addition.

The press release (below) mentions that the author also runs a website about Poco’s touring history, so I imagine he knows the subject matter pretty well. There’s a pre-release page on Amazon already, or better yet contact Groundhog Press to find out which mom&pop sites and bookshops will stock it.

And while you’re waiting for this to arrive, I can’t recommend John Einarson’s Desperados highly enough. Very enjoyable read and even someone who is very familiar with the bands, labels and players will likely learn something.

A good Groundhog day

Groundhog Press is not responsible for six more weeks of winter weather.

 

POCO’S LEGEND FINALLY SEES THE LIGHT
Country-Rock trailblazers story revealed at last

Stockton, CA –   Unearthing the fascinating story of pioneering American
country-rock band Poco, noted rock historian  Jerry Fuentes has written
LEGEND: The Story of Poco (312 pp., pb, $19.95). The band’s first
comprehensive biography, LEGEND: The Story of Poco enlightens with an
accurate portrait of this influential band, with a revealing look at the
obstacles and frustrations of the rock and roll world.

Based on numerous interviews with band members and associates, LEGEND: The Story of Poco unveils many previously unreleased details of the band’s history from their creation in 1968 out of the ashes of the legendary
Buffalo Springfield. To this day, Poco remains a popular concert act throughout the U.S. and Europe.

John Einarson, author of biographies of Neil Young, Gene Clark, Buffalo
Springfield, and Randy Bachman, says, “Poco expert extraordinaire Jerry
Fuentes offers a meticulously researched, detailed and insightful chronicle
of an influential band whose legacy endures and can be heard today in the
music of countless country music artists. LEGEND is required reading for
country rock fans and aficionados alike.”

In addition to his own writing, Jerry Fuentes also provides research support
for other authors such as Pete Long, Christopher Hjort, Doug Hinman, and
John Einarson. Fuentes has written articles about Buffalo Springfield, Neil
Young, and Poco for Goldmine, Broken Arrow, and A Good Feeling to Know.
Fuentes also operates a website documenting Poco’s extensive concert history
at pocodeliverin.com.

LEGEND: The Story of Poco
By Jerry Fuentes
ISBN 978-0-9817592-0-3

To arrange book signings, interviews or to place orders for the book, please
contact:
Jerry Fuentes
Groundhog Press
619 Fordham Drive
Stockton, CA 95210
e-mail: booksatgroundhog@sbcglobal.net
URL: www.booksatgroundhog.com

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