Okay picture this: You’re watching an old Clint Eastwood movie, but not too old, maybe like 1980’s era. Clint is chewing on a piece of wheat, and his straw hat is tilted slightly sideways. All of a sudden, the bandits start shooting from over the hill, and magically an El Camino appears right in front of Clint. He hops in, adjusts the rear view, revs the engine and switches the radio on. And in this pivotal moment what might blast through the speakers? While entering into the scene about 30 years too late, I now picture Escondido in all their desert rock glory playing Clint out as the Camino passes the state border before the dust even settles.
Now that we have that glorious image to reference- let’s talk about Escondido. Comprised of Jessica Maros and Tyler James, both Nashville based artists, Escondido is bringing back Western while looking ahead into how it can blend in with today’s musical landscape. Their debut album, The Ghost of Escondido, was recorded in a single day. Of that album, I’ve been unable to take “Cold October” off of repeat and if I do, it’s because I’ve started listening to “Black Roses,” and then the cycle continues. Maros’ voice is reminiscent of Lesley Gore, if Lesley Gore was into spaghetti western music. It’s unique and haunting, and makes the lyrics feel that much more meaningful. Backing Maros’ voice with a variation of guitar, bass, trumpet, and keyboard, James brings to life a new musical path for a genre I didn’t even know I really needed in my life.
Following The Ghost of Escondido, the duo released Walking With a Stranger in February 2016. That’s the album that initially got me hooked on these two, and the one I consistently find myself going back to. “Heart is Black,” their most popular track on Spotify, is truly just a bad ass song. I love it. I listen to it when I’m wearing red heels, or if I’m 20 minutes late to something and I need to walk really really fast. The album veers into more mellow territory with, “Try,” and “Apartment.” Their newest single, “Darkness,” was released in September, and I instantly felt transported into an 80’s smoke lounge. It’s sultry and cool without being too over the top. It keeps with Escondido traditions I recognized from the first two albums, with evocative harmonies and a beat that brings the whole thing together.
Escondido has been gaining momentum since the moment they decided to record an album together, and I don’t expect them to stop any time soon. You can catch their songs on various television shows, such as HBO’s Girls. I’ve attached their sophomore album (and my fav) below. Let me know what you think. For those like me trying to see these people play instruments in front of me, here’s their tour schedule. For those in Boston you will DEFINITELY find me at their Great Scott show in February :)))))))))))