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King of California

Dave Alvin

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iTunes Review

By far the most naked album Dave Alvin has ever released, King of California is mostly acoustic and often stark, putting it in company with Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and Steve Earle’s Train a Comin’. The album’s reflection of well-traveled road is best represented by the wonderfully windswept title track. “Barn Burning” retains the dusty atmosphere, but replaces the sweetness with a hint of menace; it is here that the album hearkens back to the high tension of Springsteen’s “State Trooper.” Roots music has always been Alvin’s calling card, and he easily soaks blues (“East Texas Blues”), soul (“(I Won’t Be) Leaving”) and tejano (“Bus Station”) into the album’s textures. Also outstanding are two duets, “Goodbye Again,” with Rosie Flores, and the George Jones cover “What Am I Worth,” which Alvin sings with Syd Straw. By conjuring its own landscape and refusing to sacrifice any of its warm desert air to cold production techniques, King of California brings Alvin up to the level of masters like Guy Clark, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Alejandro Escovedo.

Customer Reviews

Tour de Force

Arguably one of the best albums ever recorded in the Americana genre. As good as Red Headed Stranger, Viva Terlingua, any Dylan or the Band, as well as Springsteen. If you like simple, catchy tunes with an overwhelming sense of highway introspection, then this album is for you. I consider it a mainstay in my collection, right in line with Abbey Road, The Wall, Late For the Sky, and Deja Vu.


Born: 1955 in Downey, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Dave Alvin helped to kick-start the American roots rock scene in the early '80s with the band the Blasters, and has since gone on to a career as a solo performer, songwriter, producer, and sideman that's been as well respected as it is eclectic. Born in Downey, California in 1955, Alvin was raised by a family of music fans, and as teenagers Dave and his older brother Phil immersed themselves in blues, rockabilly, and vintage country sounds, collecting rare records and attending nightclub performances...
Full Bio

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