Arizona Motel

Arizona Motel

by Hacienda Brothers
     
 
Frontman and co-founder Chris Gaffney's untimely death in April 2008 ensures that Arizona Motel is the final release from this rootsy country-soul quintet. Unfortunately, the band was just starting to receive national recognition due to constant touring when Gaffney was diagnosed with liver cancer. At least they had time to record a final set and leave on a

Overview

Frontman and co-founder Chris Gaffney's untimely death in April 2008 ensures that Arizona Motel is the final release from this rootsy country-soul quintet. Unfortunately, the band was just starting to receive national recognition due to constant touring when Gaffney was diagnosed with liver cancer. At least they had time to record a final set and leave on a high note, as this album is a logical continuation of the two previous studio projects and one live disc. Gaffney is in fine form, singing the majority of the songs and infusing them with his heartfelt honesty. Opener "A Lot of Days Are Gone" is particularly affecting, especially in retrospect. On it, guitar-slinging shotgun rider Dave Gonzalez trades lead vocals as Gaff sings "There was always time, but now it's slipped away" for a honky tonk ballad that can also be seen as a moving summary of Gaffney's life. The legendary Dan Penn, who produced both previous studio sets, returns for five (of the 14) tracks, and he wrote two of those, including the closing "Break Free," which features one of Gaffney's most emotional vocals. The rest are credited to the band, which keeps the sound appropriately stripped down yet not raw. The twangy R&B approach is best captured on the ballad "Ordinary Soul," a weeper that hits the sweet spot between genres as effectively as any in the group's catalog. It's highlighted by guest Joe Terry's (Dave Alvin, the Skeletons) piano, a subtle yet essential addition to the majority of these songs. The members get a rare chance to solo on "Light It Again Charlie," the only instrumental and one of the few instances where Gonzalez opens up on guitar. "Soul Mountain" balances between country, blues, and gospel on an upbeat shuffle offset by the rest of the typically slower tunes. A few covers highlighted by Connie Smith's "I'll Come Running" and Hank Williams' "When You're Tired of Breaking Other Hearts" pepper the disc, and Gaffney dips into George Jones' expressive territory on the tearful "Divorce or Destroy," but it's the originals that are most impressive. These songs, most co-written by Gaffney, Gonzalez, and manager/friend Jeb Schoonover, capture the proud yet sad tales of protagonists who are brokenhearted but not broken, down but seldom out. With Gaffney's world-weary voice and a great band behind him, Arizona Motel is a poignant yet proud conclusion to the singer's musical legacy and a stirring way to close the book on this classy Americana artist.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/24/2008
Label:
Proper American
UPC:
0852007001210
catalogNumber:
2
Rank:
79962

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hacienda Brothers   Primary Artist
Chris Gaffney   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Accordion,Vocals,Background Vocals
Joe Terry   Organ,Piano,Vocal Harmony
Dale Daniel   Percussion,Drums
Dan Penn   Background Vocals
Hank Maninger   Bass,Bass Guitar,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Dave Gonzalez   Vocals
David "DB" Berzansky   Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Dan Penn   Producer,Engineer
Bill Cashman   Engineer
Jeb Bley Schoonover   Executive Producer
John Roy   Original Cover Artwork

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