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Tuesday, Nov 08 2011 | 15:18 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

“Tucson Songs” – a stunning portrait of a musically sizzling city. In between Mambo, Country & Western and Americana, a new desert sound is blossoming in Arizona. “Tucson Songs” contains 18 songs, 90% are previously unreleased. Incl. two exclusive tracks by Giant Sand and Calexico.

Ask most music fans which cities come to mind and most will state the obvious – Detroit, Nashville, Seattle, Austin, Philadelphia, Portland. But, tucked into the southwest desert is one that deserves a place in that list – Tucson. This “smallest big city in the USA” has always been home to a steady music scene, but in recent years, has become a vibrant Mecca for musicians. With the ever-shining sun and cheap rent for generous spaces, Tucson is the perfect place for musicians to stretch their legs and delve into their craft. Anyone visiting this dusty town, even just once (always worth your while), is presented with a nightlife that thrives first and foremost on live music. Pretty much every night offers a chance to see shows in the heaps of downtown clubs, all within walking distance of each other, places such as the cozy Red Room at the Grill or the unique art/music gallery Solar Culture, larger venues like Plush, The Hut and Club Congress (located in the infamous Rock’n’Roll hotel, Hotel Congress) or the big-crowd holders, The Rialto and The Fox theaters. A veritable playground for musicians and the land o’ plenty for the music fan.

For the past decade or so, bands like Giant Sand and Calexico have been delivering up quintessential sounds of the desert. But any connoisseur of the late eighties will remember bands that paved the way for that sound, bands such as Green on Red, Chris Cacavas and Al Perry and The Cattle. However, a closely guarded secret that is about to being cracked wide open is the latest generation of highly talented musicians that are launching their own flagships of sounds from Arizona. A combination of Tucson’s extremely relaxed atmosphere with the prickly landscape dominated by unforgiving cacti makes for new good sounds, rhythms and songs. Along the way, this new crop of bands has had a helping hand from their pioneering forefathers – Calexico is to Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta as Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb is to Brian Lopez. However, none of this hotbed of talent would have come to our attention here at Le Pop had it not been for Tucson’s French-born chanteuse Marianne Dissard (whose first album was produced by Joey Burns of Calexico). She was wisely plucked up many of these budding musicians to bring along with her on her European tours. And now, they appear on this compilation with their own offerings, including Andrew Collberg, Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan and Sergio Mendoza. Her ex-husband, Naim Amor and fellow musicians like Amy Rude, Silver Thread Trio and Courtney Marie Andrews are also all at the core of a familiar scene that inspires the good kind of sounds.

It was through the release of albums from Dissard, Amor and Collberg that really piqued our curiosity about the place that produced such diverse and entertaining music. Researching the rich local music scene ended up in Le Pop putting together a sampler-concept compilation album entitled “Tucson Songs” and is dedicated exclusively to music from southern Arizona. The musical spectrum ranges from desert sounds à la Calexico and Giant Sand to CountryBilly twang, from Morricone-inspired soundscapes set to desert chansons, to straight-up classic folk and pop songwriting and experimental hybrids. On their desert treasure hunt, Le Pop got a lot of help navigating the scene from Joey Burns (Calexico) and über-knowledgeable local radio host Dr. Dan Twelker (being that he is an optometrist and all). “Tucson Songs” is a portrait of a musical city like no other – a melting pot and creative oasis in the desert.


01. Gabriel Sullivan & Taraf de Tucson – The Rust, The Knife
02. Brian Lopez – El Pajaro Y El Ciervo
03. Calexico feat. Françoiz Breut – Keeper Of The Flame
04. Sergio Mendoza y la Orkestra – Mambo Mexicano
05. Otherly Love – Crossed The Line
06. Andrew Collberg – Plastic Bows
07. Courtney Marie Andrews – It’s Okay, I Understand
08. J. Daniel Twelker – Come Ride With Me
09. Gabriel Sullivan – Me And The Dog
10. Boffomet – The Circus Of Love
11. Golden Boots – Day Are Night
12. Naïm Amor – Creole
13. Silver Thread Trio – Who Killed Cock Robin?
14. Marianne Dissard – Neige Romaine
15. Amy Rude & Heartbeast – Stump Of Love
16. Bread and Circus – Miss Me
17. Al Perry – Dreaming
18. Giant Sand – Recovery Mission

The compilation VariousTucson Songs (Le Pop Musik) has been released November 4, 2011.

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