Brian Baker of Cincinnati CityBeat
“Dave Purcell’s music has ranged from the sturdy Americana of Pike 27 to the gauzier after hours ephemera of Ghost Man on Second, but at its molten core, where the magnetic gravity is created, it’s been a rootsy Midwestern romp through a soundscape peppered with sonic references to the likes of the Jayhawks, Soul Asylum and Bottlerockets with a dash of badass Detroit bluster, boiled down to a purified essence and filtered through Purcell’s singular songwriting perspective.
The breaking news is that a recent move to the Southwest has unlocked all sorts of new compartments in Purcell’s creative treasure chest. Imagine the mariachi band on Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” after an ayahuasca and cranberry juice cleanse sitting in with a Los Lobos side project. Imagine Joe Strummer collaborating with Spoon in studio on Stan Ridgway’s Mexican radio while Elvis Costello watches detectives digging for evidence in the desert heat. Imagine 21st century Howe Gelb time travelling back to 1980s Howe Gelb for a Giant Sand jam session with himself. Imagine this is all a shared hallucinatory fever dream between Joey Burns and John Convertino and they turn it into a Calexico rock opera.
Genres orbit around Purcell’s dome like rogue satellites transmitting galactic signals directly into his main frame. His influences aren’t chiseled in stone, they are as malleable as sculptor’s clay and he molds his songs in a similarly flexible manner, reflecting his creative soul’s prismatic response to his musical inspirations as well as his own estimable accomplishments. You can attempt to attribute a specific sonic qualifier to his work but, at the end of a long, hot, beautiful day, Dave Purcell don’t need no stinking badges.”
Radio Free ABQ: The Evolution of Sound & The Human Spirit
Joe Smith, The Crossing
A fantastic essay on music, meaning, life, and Radio Free ABQ by Albuquerque writer, Joe Smith. Excerpt:
Radio Free ABQ, by design and composition, are not a melting pot; nothing gets absorbed and lost into indistinguishability. They are a mixed-media collage of vibrant and musical spirits, each radiating a brilliant, distinguishable flavor and sound on their own merit, melodically orchestrated to celebrate life in high-resolution displays of infectious energy, with wildly enlightening tones and underpinnings of instrumental party vibes suitable for any curious soul on the planet. Radio Free ABQ have evolved a distinct and clever indie music sound in the high-desert southwest, with vignettes of old world culture, by leather-tramping it around the Appalachian foothills of poverty and misfortune, skirting the soles with ornaments of Latin party and dance influences, then wrapping the whole damn thing with a tinge of high-altitude rock that gateways into a quasi-psychedelic feel, with some motown primer and nowheresville base coat sound that could have originated in any fly-over clump of towns in the nation. If vocal refinement and delivery matter, imagine beginning with a stock metallic core of Bruce Springsteen, then modernizing to a lesser-dense alloy to get Eddie Vedder, then refining that creation even further by forging, polishing, and sealing for a much cleaner, lighter, yet powerfully convincing vocal delivery that is Dave Purcell.
The band is so effective, that the audience can pick out several influences and sounds emanating from each artist, all while enjoying the magnificent and prominent arrangements of the collective. They are, quite arguably, the most talented and efficient at composing and performing southwestern and midwestern-fuzed Americana, with vignettes of nearly every cultural region on the planet.
They have evolved sound while ignoring borders. (Click for more…)