California dreams

Dead Rock West
Dead Rock West

ANOTHER intriguing night of American roots music is in prospect at The Greystones next week with the arrival of Dead Rock West on their first headlining tour of the UK.

The band are essentially Californians Cindy Wasserman and Frank Lee Drennen but they will be augmented by other musicians, as on their new album, Bright Morning Stars (Red River Records).

“This is a total California spirituals record,” says Drennen. “Made by California musicians.”

In fact, influences come from blues, country, folk and gospel. Songs of strength and hope, they say, and they do indeed make an fine job of it. The album is produced by Peter Case, who accompanies the band throughout, singing on two songs popularised by blues preacher Blind Willie Johnson: God Moves On The Water and God Don’t Never Change.

He says: “All the great singers eventually get around to recording gospel-themed music, from the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers to Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Dead Rock West are singing their way through the American songbook.”

They are at The Greystones in Greystones Road next Wednesday.