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Dustbowl 2021 Promo 1 by Bob Turton

Good Medicine Presents — Dustbowl Revival

Friday October 22nd @ 6:00pm - 9:30pm

Dust­bowl Revival has always been about push­ing the bound­aries of what Amer­i­can roots music can be. After cel­e­brat­ing over a decade of son­ic adven­tur­ing and play­ing thou­sands of shows togeth­er in ten coun­tries and count­ing, the group col­lect­ed a devot­ed fan­base coast-to-coast. After throw­ing five of their own vir­tu­al Sway-At-Home fes­ti­vals dur­ing the shut-down fea­tur­ing near­ly forty artists, the always evolv­ing group of string and brass play­ers led by found­ing mem­bers Z. Lupetin, Josh Hef­fer­nan, Ulf Bjor­lin are excit­ed to wel­come a new wave of tal­ent to the band, after emerg­ing from a pan­dem­ic tour­ing hiatus. 

After spend­ing years on the road, sell­ing out home­town shows at LA’s famed Trou­ba­dour, head­lin­ing fes­ti­vals and wow­ing crowds from Den­mark to Chi­na, Dust­bowl Revival nev­er stopped mak­ing their joy­ful, booty-shak­ing soul songs and cut-to-heart folk-rock bal­lads that lift up their tran­scen­dent live shows.

Even so, with the bands emo­tion­al new sin­gle Beside You” and 2020’s ambi­tious full length Is It You, Is It Me, they want­ed to strike into new ter­rain. As they mined new ener­getic mate­r­i­al from the place where folk and funk music meet, they teamed up with pro­duc­er Sam Kas­sir­er (Lake Street Dive, Josh Rit­ter) and engi­neer Bri­an Joseph (Bön Iver, Suf­jan Stevens). The lat­est album strikes a more per­son­al note than ever before, rep­re­sent­ing the lat­est stage in a band that nev­er stops explor­ing new sounds.

Many of the songs feel like small the­ater pieces com­ing to life verse by verse. It’s the yin-yang con­ver­sa­tion­al har­mo­ny that is the true spe­cial­ty of lead song­writer and singer Z. Lupetin, who also dou­bles as a play­wright and recent­ly wrote the music for a Greek tragedy set in Gold Rush era Cal­i­for­nia. While long­time co-lead Liz Beebe has stepped away from the band after a long run, an amaz­ing young tal­ent in Lashon Hal­ley has stepped in to bring new life to the songs, match­ing Lupetin’s intense vocal range with her own.

With a big brass-and-strings band build­ing around the voic­es, Is It You, Is It Me isn’t afraid to explore the per­son­al and polit­i­cal ten­sion that the group may have shied away from fac­ing before. The album tack­les uneasy top­ics, often where the polit­i­cal feels per­son­al, espe­cial­ly in the defi­ant Get Rid of You,” which was inspired by the stu­dent activists who emerged from the trag­ic Park­land High School shoot­ing in Flori­da. The omi­nous dri­ving brass groove of Ene­my,” hones in on a painful gen­er­a­tional split between a daugh­ter and her par­ents who may have vot­ed in a tyrant, and have become strangers to her. This yearn­ing search for com­mon ground per­vades the record as a whole. 

Where the band real­ly sets on a new course is on lush­ly cin­e­mat­ic, orches­trat­ed set pieces like Mir­ror,” Run­away” and, most notably, the cur­rent fan favorite and live show­stop­per Son­ic Boom,” about the strug­gle to reveal who you real­ly are in the hid­den, rose-col­ored world of social media. There’s a new widescreen expan­sive­ness to these songs that wouldn’t be out of place in a packed are­na or orches­tra hall with a full neon light show. Act­ing like a nim­ble rock orches­tra, dur­ing the record­ing process, each mem­ber played mul­ti­ple instru­ments, and the group brought in new musi­cians on sym­phon­ic brass, and local friends to sing as a spur-of-the-moment choir. 

If one thing is clear, Is It You, Is It Me rep­re­sents anoth­er large leap for­ward for Dust­bowl Revival, com­ing after their acclaimed self-titled 2017 album. Pro­duced by Gram­my-win­ner Ted Hutt (Old Crow Med­i­cine Show, Drop Kick Murphy’s), it tran­si­tioned the group from a roots dance par­ty band” that con­tin­ues to thrive on the fes­ti­val cir­cuit, to a nuanced ensem­ble embrac­ing more soul­ful ter­ri­to­ry with­out los­ing their orig­i­nal fire. That self-titled record was a direct bridge to the newest work, ris­ing num­ber to one on the Ama­zon Amer­i­cana chart and fea­tur­ing a funky favorite Hon­ey I Love You” where the band joy­ful­ly team­ing up with blues mas­ter Keb Mo’. Their heartache folk num­ber Got Over”, sur­prised the band by rack­ing up over sev­en mil­lion streams and count­ing online. Beside You” stayed in the Amer­i­cana charts for months and Ene­my” became a sta­ple on Sir­iusXM, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the 2020 elec­tion. To top it off, Bill­board Mag­a­zine added about that Is It You, Is It Me is the biggest son­ic work of the Venice, Calif.-based troupe’s career.” 

Dust­bowl Revival’s sto­ry start­ed humbly. Near­ly thir­teen years ago Z. Lupetin, a Chica­go native who attend­ed col­lege in Michi­gan came to L.A. to be a screen­writer, grew dis­il­lu­sioned with his job in adver­tis­ing, and placed a hope­ful ad on Craigslist. He sought to find fel­low musi­cians who shared his rov­ing love of Louis Arm­strong, Bob Wills, Old Crow Med­i­cine Show, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and the brass bands of New Orleans, but also want­ed to write songs like Amer­i­cana pio­neers Wilco, Lucin­da Williams and even Bruce Spring­steen. There are still play­ers in the group who respond­ed to that ini­tial odd quest. New tal­ent on elec­tric gui­tar, piano and more are join­ing in for 2021.

Maybe we don’t know where this jour­ney will take us or how long it will last,” acknowl­edges Lupetin, That’s my take on the impor­tance of what we try to do. Music ele­vates us, lifts us up, makes us change our minds, takes us out of our com­fort zones. If just one per­son can be moved by just one song, that’s enough.”

Dust­bowl Revival Cas­toro Cel­lars
Fri­day Oct. 22nd, 2021 — All Ages$20/25