Album Reviews

Continental Drifters

Drifted: In The Beginning & Beyond

Artist:     Continental Drifters

Album:     Drifted: In The Beginning & Beyond

Label:     Omnivore

Release Date:     07/17/2015


Back in the 1990s, for the longest time, the only way to hear this wonderful band was to see them live. For many years, those in the know were calling them “the best unsigned band in America.”

Then they finally got a major label deal, the albums started coming, the tours went into Europe and they had developed a very dedicated following–for good reason. This band was easy to fall in love with. This was the band you wanted to be in. A family you wished was yours. Why? The musicianship, the camaraderie, the choice of material (be it their originals or the very well-chosen covers: Richard Thompson, Alive ‘n Kickin’, Rodney Atkins, to name a few). And the harmonies! All the bars and small venues they performed in along the way had never within their walls heard harmonies performed as magically as was done by these songbirds.

This has now all been captured on this new two-disc release, which covers their entire career from humble beginnings in Los Angeles on through the band’s final years based in New Orleans. Not simply a compilation of previously released recordings, this is, for the most part, rare, unreleased, demo and live material which captures the true essence of the band, perhaps more so than their previous recorded output. Starting with the songwriting talents of Ray Ganucheau, Gary Eaton and Carlo Nuccio, along with founding members Mark Walton (the Dream Syndicate) and Peter Holsapple (the dB’s), these two discs progress through to the group’s final and perhaps most popular lineup: Walton, Holsapple, Russ Broussard (drums), Robert Mache (guitar), Vicki Peterson (the Bangles) and the champion of harmonies herself, Susan Cowsill (the Cowsills).

What a most welcome and refreshing treat this is. It’s an absolute joy to listen to; Americana at its best. Don’t miss it.

–Barry Fisch

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