This CD at times brings back memories of Southern California Rock/ Country a la Poco or Gram Parsons' era Byrds, mixed with a dash of San Francisco, the country side of Moby Grape (one of the most overlooked and perhaps the most versatile of the 60's San Francisco bands), including their fuzzy and at times psychedelic guitars (think the guitar interplay of Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis and Skip Spence early the first Moby Grape album). Now we are not saying Old Californio (rather an unwieldy name) displays the brilliance of the Grape but they display many of the same sonic qualities. Rich Dembrowski is the sole songwriter and the lead singer of the group (another aside here and I apologize for all of them but on the disc I got there are no credits given so lets hope it was an advance copy, though that wasn't indicated) as well as one of the guitar players, along with Woody Aplanalp on the other guitar; drummer Justin Smith, bassist Jason Chesney, and keyboardist Levi Nunez round out the group.
It is a sunny disc that has many very interesting moments on it that just seem to perk up the mood; there are also a couple of songs that do not work as well. On one or two cuts they add horns that at times just don't seem to work with their sound. Overall there is a quite a bit to like and enjoy, and if the band grows there is some real nice potential here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles