Diamonds and Clay from New Monsoon Reminds Me Why I like Jam Bands!!
Back in 2010 when I started blogging with MOG, Rhapsody and XM Radio by my side, I started to explore a lot of genres and sub-genres of music. One sub-genre hat I explored was jam band music. I discovered several bands that really liked like Gov”t Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, moe, Hot Buttered Rum, Railroad Earth and New Monsoon. Over the years, I have sporadically listened to the music of these bands, but most the their music has fallen out of my music rotation. Last night I was searching around through Spotify and I discovered that New Monsoon released a new album Diamonds & Clay in 2014. When the album was released, it was their first since 2009’s release Live, which was the album that I listened to when I discovered the band! Anyway I gave the album a listen last night and have now rediscovered Jam Bands!! Can you say too much music, too little time!!
New Monsoon calls San Francisco home and is an eclectic rock band in the mold of the Grateful Dead, founded by Bo Carper (acoustic guitar and banjo), Jeff Miller (electric guitar) and Phil Ferlino (keys). They have been touring and recording now for more than a decade, The rhythm section of Marshall Harrell on electric bass and drummer Michael Pinkham rounds out New Monsoon. You can read more about my first encountered with the band here.
Released in 2014, Diamonds and Clay, the 5th studio album from New Monsoon, features 10 original tracks that capture the innovative songwriting, soulful instrumental interplay, lush harmony vocals and soaring energy that have become New Monsoon’s trademark.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2013, recording for Diamonds and Clay began at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios in San Rafael, CA. This state-of-the-art environment enabled the band to play the songs together, giving the record a live feel. With the foundation for each song in place, they went on to Charlie Wilson’s Sonic Zen Records in Berkeley, CA to record additional tracks including lead and harmony vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, and various keyboard parts. The end result is a deeply textured sonic experience marrying the band’s raw energy with the sensitivity and craft that is afforded in the recording studio environment.
While Dennis Cook at Dirty Impound/JamBase has written the following about Diamonds and Clay.….
“Diamonds and Clay affirms New Monsoon as torchbearers for rock & roll with something substantive to say about the human condition. Made of sturdy muscle & heart, they stretch rock in the same winning ways as Traffic and Little Feat, where great skill, undisguised passion, and well-weathered soul combine for nourishment for folks who seek music that’s more than mere entertainment.”
Bottom Line – Diamonds and Clay has reminded me of a) why I liked New Monsoon so much five years ago – great vocals coupled with great musicianship and equally as great songwriting skills and b) I should be listening to more jam bands!! Excuse me while I check for new music from Keller Williams, Ekoostik Hookah, The String Cheese Incident and more!!! My Rating ***
Links for the Further Explorations of the Music of New Monsoon
Here’s “Time Won’t Wait” from New Monsoon’s Diamonds and Clay