Sunday, October 26, 2014

Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst Are Back With "Endless Sky"

Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst Are Back with Endless Sky, Continuing Their Collaboration With Producer Ira Ingber (Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson)

Casper’s Louisiana background pushes to the forefront with the rootsy swamp-rock sound of Endless Sky

Steven Casper is a Los Angeles based singer and songwriter. Growing up in Japan, Italy, Nigeria and Mexico, one of his main connections to American culture was through his parents' record collection. At a very young age he discovered the magic of Hank Williams, Leadbelly, Bob Wills, Mahalia Jackson, Woody Guthrie and many other American icons. Moving back to the United States at age 17, he started his first band shortly after hearing The Ramones. Through the years his songwriting has evolved from rock and roll, to the more roots oriented music of his early days, sitting in front of his parents' record player.

Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst established themselves as roots-rock, Americana artists with their last EP, Trouble and the addition of two new players, John “Groover” McDuffie , Rita Coolidge’s longtime guitar player and Carl Byron who has worked with such greats as Bo Didley and The Spencer Davis Group. Along with Herb Deitelbaum and Jay Nowac, Endless Sky is the band’s second project together and is a testament to this working party.

Casper’s voice has a stronger presence on Endless Sky and the impressive rhythm section of Nowak and Deitelbaum provide the framework while, McDuffie and Byron enrich the record’s character with McDuffie’s slide, pedal steel and lap steel guitars, and Byron’s addition of piano, accordion and Hammond B3 organ. Sprinkling some gospel-sounding harmonies to the mix are Charity and Linda McCrary (singing it like nobody else can) and Ross “Big Daddy” Levinson (a founding member of Cowboy Angst) adding some violin. Ingber not only produces the record but also jumps in on additional guitar, percussion and background vocals.

Providing an ample dose of soloing – “No drum solos!” jokes Casper—Endless Sky is a blend of blues, country, folk, and rock and roll with a whole lot of swamp thrown in. The country-flavored title track was inspired by a trip Casper took to a small town in Montana that his former wife's parents grew up in. “It was so small the houses didn't need to have numbers,” said Casper, “surrounding the town were empty plains dotted with low rising mesas. The sky above was huge with almost no clouds.”  Casper imagines the scenario of someone growing up in that small town and realizing that there’s a whole lot of world out there, “I’ve got a feeling growing inside, every time I look up at the endless sky”.

“Rattlesnake Road”, is a bluesy, swamp number that conjures up voodoo in both the lyrics and music, while “In The Quiet Hours” is nostalgic song that blends a 60’s soul/blues place with straight up rock and roll (courtesy of McDuffie’s expert wailing guitar). “River” is a lush and heartfelt ballad and the McCrary’s harmonies on this song lift Casper’s voice and let it float on top of the carefully crafted musical arrangement. “The Last Dance of The Year” is the final song on the EP and is a sweet instrumental Cajun waltz that evokes an evening of “porch sittin’” and playing music on a hot summer night. Casper says that the song came from a recurring image he had about walking through a Southern countryside on a late summer evening and being drawn to music he hears floating in the distance. When he follows the trail he finds a small community dance party.

Steven Casper is an artist whose talent keeps progressing and this lineup of Cowboy Angst is a great backdrop for his talent. “I just keep moving forward“, he says, “I keep writing, recording, playing. I can’t remember a time where there was not melodies, rhythms and songs floating around in my head and the guys in this band really make the songs come alive and breathe”.

Endless Sky had a European release date of August 15th and a US release date of September 23rd, 2014.

01. Endless Sky
02. Rattlesnake Road
03. In The Quiet Hours
04. River
05. The Last Dance Of The Year

You can do yourselves a huge favour and purchase this great EP from any one the following places:

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