West of the West

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Dave Alvin is a California born-and-bred songwriter who has built a career out of creating tunes which brilliantly reflect the cultural melting pot of his home state as he fuses blues, rockabilly, folk, country, jazz and R&B influences with the passion of an archivist and the fire of a born rock & roller. Alvin is a better songwriter and guitarist than a singer, but he's opted to play the role of interpreter on his 2006 album West of the West, in which he pays homage to a dozen other tunesmiths from the Golden State while tossing in one of his own compositions for good measure. Beyond the fact they're all the same state, one might wonder just what it is that Tom ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Dave Alvin is a California born-and-bred songwriter who has built a career out of creating tunes which brilliantly reflect the cultural melting pot of his home state as he fuses blues, rockabilly, folk, country, jazz and R&B influences with the passion of an archivist and the fire of a born rock & roller. Alvin is a better songwriter and guitarist than a singer, but he's opted to play the role of interpreter on his 2006 album West of the West, in which he pays homage to a dozen other tunesmiths from the Golden State while tossing in one of his own compositions for good measure. Beyond the fact they're all the same state, one might wonder just what it is that Tom Waits, John Fogerty, and Brian Wilson among others are supposed to have in common, though in their own way each writer here offers a thumbnail sketch of one side of California. Merle Haggard's "Kern River" is a compassionate but tough-as-nails memoir of life in the West Coast labor camps, Jackson Browne's "Redneck Friend" is a witty portrait of the decadence and ennui of El Lay in the '70s, Wilson's "Surfer Girl" is a man-child's daydream of the beach as a place where summer vacation never ends and true love is always rewarded, and the contributions from Fogerty, Kate Wolf, and Los Lobos all examine the stakes of life at the bottom of the ladder in a culture built on dreams. Thematically this is heady stuff, but Alvin has the sense not to force the issues too hard and he goes for a tough but easygoing blues groove on most of these 13 cuts, wringing an understated passion out of even the least likely material. While in many respects Alvin is still best described as a songwriter who sings, he knows how to tell a story, and he's picked some great ones for this album. Alvin understands the drama of "Sonora's Death Row" just as well as the yearning of "Surfer Girl," and his performances are absorbing from front to back. It's hard not to wish Alvin had a whole album of new songs to offer his "Between the Cracks" stands tall among some very distinguished company here, but West of the West finds him honoring a stellar pantheon of California songwriters while showing that he can stand side by side with them on a good day.
Washington Post - Pamela Winters
The songs offer fine storytelling.... [Alvin's] sonorous voice, his flame-edged electric licks, the work of an array of impressive sidemen, and the production of fellow guitar master Greg Leisz lend distinction to every track.
Los Angeles Daily News - Bob Strauss
It's the sonic equivalent of an overcast day statewide, filled with rare atmospheric possibilities.

It's the sonic equivalent of an overcast day statewide, filled with rare atmospheric possibilities.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/30/2006
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • UPC: 634457211827
  • Catalog Number: 2118
  • Sales rank: 67,879

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 California Bloodlines (4:27)
  2. 2 Redneck Friend (5:04)
  3. 3 Kern River (4:07)
  4. 4 Blind Love (4:49)
  5. 5 Here in California (4:35)
  6. 6 I Am Bewildered (3:44)
  7. 7 Sonora's Death Row (5:35)
  8. 8 Down on the Riverbed (4:12)
  9. 9 Between the Cracks (4:24)
  10. 10 Don't Look Now (4:02)
  11. 11 Tramps and Hawkers (4:35)
  12. 12 Loser (4:52)
  13. 13 Surfer Girl (3:01)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dave Alvin Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, national steel guitar
Chris Gaffney Vocal Harmony
Joe Terry Organ
Danny Barnes Banjo
Bob Glaub Bass
Don Heffington Percussion, Drums
Greg Leisz Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocal Harmony, Guitar (Baritone)
Christy McWilson Vocals
David Witham Organ
Kevin Carroll Vocal Harmony
Gregory Boaz Bass, Acoustic Bass
Jesus "El Gordo" Cuevas Accordion
Herman Pruitt Vocal Harmony
Gabe Witcher Violin
Bobby Lloyd Hicks Drums
Jack Rudy Harmonica
Chris Montez Miller Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar
James Corbitt Vocal Harmony
Technical Credits
Merle Haggard Composer
Tom Russell Composer
John Stewart Composer
Dave Alvin Arranger, Composer, Liner Notes
Jackson Browne Composer
John Fogerty Composer
Jerry Garcia Composer
Tom Waits Composer
Brian Wilson Composer
Robert Hunter Composer
Richard Berry Composer
Jim Ringer Composer
Bill Dashiell Engineer
Joe Gastwirt Mastering
David Hidalgo Composer
Greg Leisz Arranger, Producer, Audio Production
Louie Pérez Composer
Craig Adams Engineer
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