TEMECULA – The Old Town Temecula Theater stage is set for the arrival of The Dustbowl Revival, Jan. 5, when the band will deliver its bold new sound, hailed as “soul-drenched, dance floor ready,” to eager concertgoers.
Over the past few years, The Dustbowl Revival has been making a name for itself with a vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds. Critics have proclaimed that this eclectic eight-piece “would have sounded utterly at home within the hallowed confines of Preservation Hall in New Orleans’ French Quarter” according to the Los Angeles Times, and their “upbeat, old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear,” according to L.A. Weekly. Rob Sheffield, in Rolling Stone, hailed them as a great band “whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day.”
Their new eponymous album, which came out on Signature Sounds, June 16, however, finds the Los Angeles-based ensemble evolving and refining its music. Their always-joyous sound now reveals a more soulful, funky side that exudes deeper emotions and taps a more modern vibe.
This exhilarating new sound jumps out on the album’s opening tracks, “Call My Name” and “If You Could See Me Now.” Drummer Joshlyn Heffernan and bassist James Klopfleisch lay down a righteous groove that trumpeter Matt Rubin and trombonist Ulf Bjorlin supercharge with their big blasts of horns. This Stax Records-style soul builds to a pair of showstoppers: “Good Egg” and “The Story.” The former is a dynamic number that showcases Liz Beebe’s sexy, full-throttled vocals as well as Bjorlin’s dirty trombone solo. On “The Story,” Beebe teams with band founder Zach Lupetin for an emotionally charged love song that features some infectious interplay between the horn players and the string-men – mandolinist Daniel Mark and fiddler Connor Vance.
The album’s first single, “Busted,” is spotlighted by vocalist Liz Beebe’s slinky jazz vocals, the song mixes traditional American music styles, like the blast of rhythm and blues horns and the in-the-pocket drums, with some inventive touches, such as a mandolin plucked like a hip-hop inspired piano and the upright bass and fiddle played through wah pedals. The group has said that recording “Busted” was like a door opening for them to create something familiar yet stylistically fresh.
The album debuted in the Top 25 on the charts Billboard Heatseekers and Billboard’s Americana-Folk chart, No. 1 on Amazon’s Americana and Alt-Country chart, Top 200 on Amazon for all genres, up to the Top 20 on the Americana radio chart and now has spent nine weeks on the chart and up to the Top 5 on the Folk radio and Contemporary Folk radio charts, with four singles reaching those singles’ charts. At the same time, a song and music video of the band with Dick Van Dyke for “Never Had to Go” from their last album was featured in a documentary on HBO called “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” which also stars Jerry Seinfeld, Betty White and Tony Bennett.
The evolution in the band’s sound has been very much an organic one. Since Signature Sounds released their last album, “With a Lampshade On,” The Dustbowl Revival has been out on the road, winning over audiences with their free-flowing, joyous live performances. After playing more than 200 shows a year during the last four years, The Dustbowl Revival came to realize that they had outgrown the confining label of a retro-minded band playing music from a bygone era and needed to move in new directions.
See The Dustbowl Revival at the Old Town Temecula Theater, 42051 Main St., in Temecula, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5. Tickets are on sale now at https://tickets.temeculatheater.org.