A couple months back I was lucky enough to be asked to do a music feature in Mission Valley News. My editor advised that I pick a band I felt strongly about and who had something interesting to promote. Within 5 minutes I was exchanging emails with Old Tiger‘s singer Dustin Lothspeich. I knew a full-length album was around the corner for the guys and thanks to the release of “Free” by the Lost Ark Studio I had quickly fallen into fandom. Between Lothspeich’s articulate banter about music and seeing the guys perform live I was happy to start learning more about the band’s beginning, current focus and what they were about to unleash.
The culmination of years of hard work comes in just a couple weeks with Old Tiger’s CD Release show on 10/12. A Friday night at the Casbah is always a sure bet but they have upped the ante and put together a stunning local lineup just to further entice you. Nena Anderson and The Mules start the night with their soulful Americana vibe crafted by tremendously talented musicians. Guitarist Mike Butler is also the extraordinary producer of Old Tiger’s release Love Have Mercy – to call this man multi-talented is a gross understatement. He has worked on an incredible collection of recordings in San Diego and also possesses an exhilarating ability to wail on guitar. If ever there was a time to fall in love with SD’s music community- this is surely it. Nena Anderson’s earnest tone and sweet voice coupled with the delicate charm of her songs is crush-worthy. *Swoon* Find some of her songs here. “I Fall In Love Too Fast” may be telling of how you’ll feel about her soon enough.
As if these vintage voices weren’t enough, The Heavy Guilt bring their own brand of contemporary voices in San Diego music as they are sandwiched in this lineup of rad. I’ve seen the Guilt more than any other band in the last year and if you haven’t had the pleasure you’ll only need to see them once to understand why. These six talented individuals give passionate performances from start to finish and blend their unique abilities into a big powerful sound. Erik Canzona’s vocals range from tender and yearning to bold and belting. Al Howard’s intensity at percussion adds creativity to the pieces he himself writes. Rounding out this warm rich sound are keyboardist Josh Rice, guitarist Sean Martin, bassist Jason Littlefield, and drummer Jenny Merullo – each bringing technical ability along with bona fide chops. If you ever wanted to see me dance with reckless abandon- meet me at a Guilt show.
Another awesome feature of The Casbah is the Atari Lounge- tucked behind the outdoor patio it offers an additional bar and an intimate area for musical wonderfulness. For OT’s release they tapped North County fave’s The Red Fox Tails to provide their surf jazz stylings between main stage sets. Haven’t had a chance to check these guys out but from what I heard online their retro vibe will fit perfectly with the other bands of the night. Make sure and take your PBR tall boy to the Atari Lounge and show them some love.
Finally Old Tiger is going to hit the stage in celebration of the tireless efforts of the past few years. Dustin Lothspeich’s vocal prowess is undeniable- there is a purity and soulfulness that come through whether he’s crooning on a tune like “Settle Down” or giving more grit in the heartachey verses of “Head.” All the while looking effortless on his majestic Flying V guitar. Usually planted at center stage, Matt Phillips anchors the guys with solid bass lines as Eric Boone gives subtle flavors at drums. As laid-back as the Old Tiger members appear, the guys put forth heaps of energy in an effort to make a cohesive sound that speaks to the listener. The CD release set promises to be a mammoth undertaking as they plan to play Love Have Mercy in its entirety along with older and newer tunes – I know they are giving this their all. Have a look/listen at one of the tunes here:
Simply put Love Have Mercy is the sort of album I can’t stop talking about. I have a new favorite song every few days (today it’s “Tambourine”) – the tell tale sign of a record I will keep in heavy rotation. I sing the praises of the band and the album to anyone who will listen (and if they won’t listen I write it on a scrap of paper and stuff it in their pocket.) Listening to the collection and knowing the enthusiasm of Lothspeich and his band as he speaks of the phase to come creates an infectious buzz. This event and album are things I feel honored to be able to promote in whatever small way. Not sure how many more ways I can say that you have to be at this show.