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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Dry River. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dry River. Show all posts

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dry River - Prayin' for the Rain - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Prayin' for the Rain, by Dry River and it's quiet and introspective. Opening with Lift This Stone, singer/guitarist Oliver Althoen performs a real nice contemporary Robert Johnson like track with the assistance of harmonica player, Dave Forrest. Very cool. Lost in the World is a solid blues rocker with tight drum work by Ruben Oridano, solid bass work by Joel Helin and firm vocals by Althoen. With an interesting guitar line and firm footing, the track sounds a bit in the vein of a stripped down early Led Zep. Hildegard is a really strong ballad with Althoen on guitar and vocal, joined by Forrest on harp and Jeremy Hatch on keys. One of my favorites on the release. Rocker, Lovesick Blues has real swagger and just a dash of country. With cool, low key electric guitar rhythm and harp lead, this is another of the standout tracks on the release. Lay Down and Die has super blues ballad bones giving Althoen the opportunity to show his pipes and soulful harp work by Forrest floats throughout the track. Shine Your Light On Me has a strong melody, vocal harmonies with Paula Gabriel. Wrapping the release is acoustic ballad, Who Am I, featuring Althoen and Gabriel on vocal harmonies, Althoen on guitar and Hatch on piano. A solid track to close a solid release.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Santa Ana based Blues/Americana outfit Dry River release 2nd album

Prayin' for the Rain is the second studio album from Dry River, recorded and produced by singer/songwriter guitarist Oliver Althoen at his home studio in Orange, California and mastered by Rob Elfaizy at Stage One Studios in Lake Forest. For the second album, Dry River wanted to crank it up a notch and stretch out a bit; so they expanded their ranks with a rhythm section, recruiting bassist Joel Helin and drummer Ruben Ordiano.  Half the songs on the new album are electric and the other half acoustic; all are originals written by Althoen with the exception of "Makin' Biscuits' which was cooked up by harmonica player Dave Forrest.
Dry River is a Blues-Rock/Americana band hailing from the banks of the Santa Ana River in Southern California.  It was originally formed as an acoustic duo when Althoen and Forrest got together to share a love of early Blues. They started out playing tunes by vintage Blues giants like Mississippi Fred McDowell, Little Walter, Slim Harpo, Skip James, and Robert Johnson, as well as modern acts like Gary Primich, Tom Waits, Randy Newman, and ZZ Top.  Dry River's tag line is "Songs of Death, Desperation, and Redemption," in the Folk/Blues/Americana tradition.  Dry River's members are basically happy people... but they like to play sad songs.

Their first public performance together was on the street in downtown Orange, California.  They earned enough money in tips to buy a few beers at a local gastropub, which they took as a good omen.  That was the night they decided on Dry River as their band name. The name "Dry River" refers to the Santa Ana River (which would be dry most of the time if it weren't for reclaimed wastewater) is the geographic link between Orange County (where Oliver and his family lives) and the Inland Empire (where Dave and his wife live).

Their first album Lost in the World featured all original material by Althoen. The two of them recorded the album live into a single microphone; it's about as honest as music gets.