Friday, April 3, 2009

Careless Hearts - Heart's Delight - An Americana Daily Review

Out here in the heartland (no pun intended - I'm about four hours east of the geographical center of the United States) music fans have learned to rely heavily on the internet to discover new music. That is where I learned about Heart's Delight, the second release from San Jose's Careless Hearts.

Based on their sound and the geography, I'm guessing it would be easy for the casual music fan to write Careless Hearts off as just another Country Rock band from Southern California, though they are more Country-Alt than Country Rock. And, at times, their sound leans more Southernly than it does Californianly.

Personally, I always liked Country Rock bands from Southern California…and I hear bits and pieces of a bunch of them on Heart's Delight - Byrds, Gram Parsons, Flying Burrito Brothers, Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band, Eagles…I also hear bits and pieces of The Textones, The Long Ryders and X.

The first cut on Heart's Delight (nice title) is Yolo County Line and on first listen I was certain I knew this song, or one that sounded like it, and just when it was about to come to me, I heard the line, 'All the way back home', and The Beatles popped into my head. I don't know if it was the vocal quality or the phrasing of that particular line, but it reminded me of the refrain, "on our way back home", in Two of Us. Weird, huh?

Then, on the next cut, Halloween, as I'm following along with the lyrics (included) the first line, 'You got fired up by all the petty jealousy, ready to incinerate the whole damn PTA, "Daddy's little helper" didn't shelter you enough this week…' Obviously a reference to The Rolling Stones.

Later, in Starling's Darlings, 'Neil is singing "Helpless", we do our best to help him out…'

Drag the River, The Carter Family, Dylan (not only mentioned but covered - Isis appears as a bonus track), Woody Guthrie and Billy Joe Shaver all get a nod. There is more, but I think you get my drift. And that's just lyrically.

Musically, Careless Hearts is a tight group of players well versed in the roots of rock and roll. Heart's Delight is filled with references to and from all kinds of country-western, country-swing and classic (as well as contemporary) country-rock and roll tunes.

I wasn't surprised to learn the album was self-produced or that the legendary Chris Stamey mixed it. While steeped in country-rock tradition, the sound is fresh and modern. I hope these guys catch a break.

Paul Kimball - Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Derek See - Lead guitar, vocals
Eric Powers - Drums, percussion
Brian Michael - Bass, vocals, dobro

Careless Hearts
Heart's Delight
Tiny Mammoth TM 001 - 2008
Careless Hearts/MySpace
Reviewed for Americana Daily by s j welker

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