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Midnight, California

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Album Review

The Byrds. Tom Petty. Dwight Yoakam. Robbie Fulks. It is in this lineage that Dave Gleason's Wasted Days lives and breaths. On their excellent though sorely overlooked 2004 release Midnight, California, the Oakland-based group carries a torch for '60s- and '70s-style outlaw country while infusing it with the spectral, chiming guitars of psychedelic rock and a hazy, coked-out California cowboy vibe. The time-tested themes of country music, mainly drinking and heartbreak, inform the bulk of the lyrical content, and the production and playing are unabashedly slick and unfettered by irony. The title track is an ode to the state itself, and to the broken-down bittersweet after-hours life to be found in the neon-lit honky tonks of the outlying counties. "Some New Someone" is a classic lost-my-girl sob story fueled by alcohol and some wonderful pedal-steel playing. And while it's hard to believe Tom Petty didn't write songs such as "Inspiration" and "Hardest Part," saying so is more a tribute to Gleason's pop songcraft than to his skill as a ripoff artist. But the highlight of the album, strangely, might be a three-minute mid-album instrumental called "The Winner" that sounds like something Brian Wilson might have written for the Flying Burrito Brothers. Don't be a surprised if one day Midnight, California is considered a country-rock classic.

Customer Reviews

You Can't Live in California Unless You've Got Some Soul

And Mr. Gleason has it in spades. I found this record by accident - listening to some internet service that has a kind of "if you like this, you'll also like this" foundation. Well, about every six songs, I'd get pointed to Dave Gleason's Wasted Days. So I finally took the hint and bought this album, and it's been on heavy rotation ever since. It positively drips with cosmic country goodness, and it even achieves the impossible - namely, making a Boston kid wish he lived in California. Every song is tight, tight, tight, and Dave Gleason and his B-bender telecaster rip it right up. Makes you want to be drinking whiskey in a dark bar somewhere near the Pacific - the Bakersfield sound for a new generation.

comin down from the cocaine kinda country

by far one of the best albums i've bought this year, Dave Gleason has nailed that comin down, God I need her, ain't slept Bakersfield sound of the 70's i grew up with. Downside of life, Hardest Part, Midnight California, pretty dam well all the tracks are memorable, i hear the sounds of Dwight, Merle, and Buck along with the melody's of America throughout the whole thing, if you ever get the chance to see Dave Gleason's Wasted Days you better get to it. His live shows are fantastic, stickin to the roots of California Honky Tonk and keepin it real.

Bakersfield at its finest...

Dave Gleason has taken the Bakersfield style of country music and put his own twist on it to bring you Midnight, California. The title track paints a picture of a laid back California Honky Tonk, where the "neon signs are the only lights you'll see around." The rest of the cd weaves in and out of your typical country themes of heartache and loneliness; all the while making sure you have a glass of wine nearby, just in case. Dave Gleason takes it back to the likes of The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons, Buck Owens, and Dwight Yoakam. If you're looking for stripped down country music that's beyond what you'll hear coming out of Nashville, this is the best record you'll find today.

Midnight, California, Dave Gleason's Wasted Days
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