Brian Whelan: “To me, Brian Whelan will always be the Kid. When he first materialized several years ago at the Cinema Bar, that charmingly crowded, noisy little room in Culver City known as “The World’s Smallest Honky Tonk,” he was an alarmingly boyish presence. At first he stood out because he didn’t look old enough to legally consume the beer he was holding. But he soon distinguished himself as a young lion behind the roots-rock sages – Randy Weeks, Mike Stinson, Tony Gilkyson – whose shows packed out the tiny joint. It became quickly apparent that Brian could play just about anything, and brilliantly; his formidable chops later found him a primo spot in Dwight Yoakam’s band. But he displayed other musical dimensions: He also played in a tough little pop-rock band, known variously as the Brokedown and the Broken West, which recorded a couple of fine records before lamentably breaking up too soon. He fronted another rockin’ unit, Wheelhouse, as a prelude for the album you’re listening to now. It shows off splendidly the many things – singing, playing, writing — that Brian does so exquisitely well. And it cuts across the broad swatch of stylistic turf that he occupies effortlessly, from the rootsy inventions of Gilkyson’s “Mojave High” and Stinson’s “Brand New Love Song” to a group of originals (two of them co-authored by Broken West cohort Ross Flournoy) that to my ears bear favorable comparison to the best of Nick Lowe or the Plimsouls. Yeah, he’s still the Kid to me. But Brian Whelan’s work is thoroughly mature and emotionally wise, and many another grown-up musician will envy its excellence.” - Chris Morris, Host, “Watusi Rodeo”/Scion Radio 17, Los Angeles, June 2012
Amy Blaschke: An Amy Blaschke song is like a well-worn gold locket, deceptively simple on the surface, opening to reveal a beautiful, secret wonder. It could be a sneaky counter-melody of guitar or a lush, hushed vocal that perfectly captures one of the many shades of heartache. While lovely and confessional, her delivery is never precious. Her upcoming album, ‘Desert Varnish’, named for a term she became smitten with when she heard it used to describe the weathering of rocks in Joshua Tree was produced and engineered by Joshua Grange. Recorded live over four days in January 2011 and dappled with overdubs throughout the remainder of the year, ‘Desert Varnish’ features the musical excellence of Joshua Grange, Ian Walker, Steve Nistor and Jebin Bruni, and feature songs spanning the years since her last album, ‘Of Honey and Country’, which was released in 2007, under the band name Night Canopy. Amy Blaschke hails from Seattle and started performing early on, playing her first show at the age of 16. Blaschke has been performing, writing and recording ever since, and currently calls Los Angeles home. In addition to her solo efforts, Blaschke’s previous bands include Night Canopy and Whalebones. Over the years, she has shared the stage with Fleet Foxes, Cat Power, Bon Iver, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, Henry Wolfe, Leslie Stevens, Kip Boardman, Alela Diane, Cass McCombs, Damien Jurado, Tiny Vipers, Cave Singers, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Rocky Votolato, Jen Wood, Broken Social Scene, The Watson Twins, The Chapin Sisters, AA Bondy, M. Ward, Howlin’ Rain, Wolf Parade, Frog Eyes, Oakley Hall, Arthur & Yu, Gold Leaves, Whispering Pines, Brian Whelan and CB Brand.
Joe Bourdet: In a world where dreams are hardly still woven, an America that allows for no 2nd act, and frequently cancels the 1st, Joe Bourdet has a problem. He’s in the grip of a major obsession with the multi-faceted laid-back California rock sound, yet he’s got just one short lifetime to make as much of it as he can. Now, with the help of a rag-tag team of misfits, he’ll embark on a full exploration of ‘freedom’ rock musical forms, and a race against time will become a voyage of discovery. A founding member of rootsy rockers Whispering Pines and Nevada City CA native, this new solo venture will find him once again out-in-the-woods. Watch Joe Bourdet and Friends as they hatch a musical sound so audacious that it just… might… work. A delightful romp, and this time it’s more personal.
What is Desert Nights?
Desert Nights is a weekly gathering at The Standard, Hollywood, hosted by KCRW’s DJ Valida. Every Wednesday, Valida curates three acoustic musical acts to perform a set in the Cactus Lounge. The vibe is warm and intimate, evoking an impromptu jam in a musician’s living room. The music begins at 7:30pm, it’s always free and always a good time. Guaranteed.