Cordovas announce album on ATO Records and release new single
Cordovas make their ATO Records debut with "That Santa Fe Channel", produced by Milk Carton Kids Kenneth Pattengale, out August 10th.
Rooted in triple-stacked harmonies, southern storytelling and cosmic country twang, Cordovas create their own version of American roots-rock with "That Santa Fe Channel", out August 10th on ATO Records. The album marks the band's ATO Records debut, arriving after more than a half-decade's worth of international touring, communal living, and shared songwriting sessions. It's a timely - and timeless - version of a sound that's existed for 50 years, ever since pioneers like the Grateful Dead and the Allman Bothers Band blurred the lines between rock, country, and amplified folk music. If "That Santa Fe Channel" nods to the band's influences, though, it's still a fiercely unique album, recorded in a series of live takes that shine a light not only on Cordovas' songwriting chops, but their strength as a raw, rugged live band, as well.
"That Santa Fe Channel" was produced by the Milk Carton Kids' Kenneth Pattengale in East Nashville, not far from the home that doubles as the band's rehearsal space, headquarters, and shared living quarters. There, in a converted barn behind the property's main house, the guys logged countless hours fine-tuning a sound that's already earned praise from outlets like NPR Music and Rolling Stone, who described the group as "the harmony-heavy, guitar-fueled house band at a Big Pink keg party in 1968." With its western wooziness and siesta-friendly swagger, "That Santa Fe Channel" also nods to the band's other home bases: Southern California, where bassist and band leader Joe Firstman lived for years; and Todos Santos, Mexico, where Cordovas' five members travel every winter to write new songs, sharpen old standbys, and oversee the acclaimed Tropic of Cancer Concert Series. The result is a record that's steeped in - but not limited to - southern sounds and California charm. It's American music without borders.
Years before Cordovas' formation, Firstman traveled the country as a solo musician. Raised in North Carolina, he moved to Hollywood as a determined 20 year-old, signing a major-label deal with Atlantic Records in 2002. His debut album, War of Women, hit stores one year later. When a dizzying blur of acclaimed shows - including opening dates for Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson - weren't enough to satisfy the expectations of a big-budget record label, Firstman lost his contract and took a new job as music director on "Last Call with Carson Daly". It was good work, with Firstman performing nightly alongside first-rate musicians like Thundercat and Kamasi Washington. Still, the need to create his own music was ever-present. With Cordovas, he's found his ultimate vehicle: a collaborative band with multiple lead singers and a collective approach not only to songwriting, but to existing. Cordovas aren't just bandmates. They're roommates. They're co-conspirators. They're a family.
"The Cordovas are a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week job," clarifies Firstman, who shares the band's roster with drummer Graham Spillman, keyboardist Sevans Henderson, and dueling lead guitarists Lucca Soria and Toby Weaver. "You're always on call to play, to adapt to another man's idea, to pick up a guitar or look at a lyrics sheet. We're eating dinner together, hanging out together, and making art. We don't have rehearsal times, because rehearsal is always. You have to honor the art first, and everything else comes second."
Living in such close quarters - both at home and on the road - has turned Cordovas into a band of brothers. Stop by the band's East Nashville compound and you may find Soria and Weaver picking their way through bluegrass songs inside the barn, while Firstman wraps up a family dinner in the kitchen and Spillman fixes the band's RV outside. There's a communal vibe to the band's existence that bleeds over into their songs, where it's often hard to pinpoint a single person's voice in those thick, swooning harmonies. That Santa Fe Channel is the soundtrack to that communal existence: a collection of songs written together, performed together, and lived together.
Rolling Stone says “caught halfway between Duane Allman's Telecaster twang, the Dead's hazy harmonies and the stoned swoon of California's folk-rock heyday, Cordovas wring new life from older influences, hoisting their freak flag high,” while NPR Music points out that "everyone in the East Nashville band Cordovas is a lead vocalist. The country-rock group is committed to the sound of brotherhood - a few voices sharing a feeling."
The hungover charm of the album's opener, "This Town's a Drag," which finds Firstman searching for illegal thrills in a dry town. Together, "That Santa Fe Channel's" nine songs paint the picture of a band on the rise, heading for a horizon whose beauty can match their own.
Hear the Single here...
The band begins a five-week European tour this week – including the first ever Songpickr show in Berlin – then return to the U.S. for a tour that currently runs from July through September. Cordovas are a formidable live act, as Wide Open Country noted about their AmericanaFest set last year, “Cordovas proved classic American rock-and-roll can still fire up a club like it did in its heyday.”
Cordovas live in Germany:
20.06. Ingolstadt – Bluesfest @ Neue Welt
12.07. Berlin – Songpickr Americana Night @ Privatclub with St. Beaufort and Susto (solo)
13.07. Norderstedt – Music Star
14.07. Oberhausen - Static Roots Festival @ Centrum Altenberg
Cordovas are: bassist/vocalist Joe Firstman, drummer Graham Spillman, keyboardist Sevans Henderson, guitarist/vocalist Lucca Soria and guitarist/vocalist Toby Weaver.
Source: Text / Bio provided by ATO Records & PIAS