Dead Rock WestView in iTunes
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Led by vocalist Cindy Wasserman and singer and guitarist Frank Lee Drennen, Dead Rock West specializes in a kind of jangly west coast alt country that shades into pop and punk territory at times, a bit like a clever cross between the Gram Parsons version of the Byrds and L.A.'s X. Formed in 2002, the band, which also includes multi-instrumentalist Phil Parlapiano (mandolin, organ), drummer Bryan Head, and bassist David J. Carpenter, has a long pedigree drawn from the Southern California rock and roots scene, and individual members have played in a whole host of bands in various configurations, including the Hatchet Brothers, the Troubled Sleepers, Abandoned Pools, the Brothers Figaro, and Loam, a band that still counts Drennen as a key member. Wasserman has toured with Grant Lee Phillips, while Parlapiano has performed with Grant Lee Buffalo, Tracy Chapman, Lucinda Williams, Rod Stewart, and Social Distortion, among others. It's a lot of proven talent, and Dead Rock West made full use of it for their debut album, Honey and Salt, which was recorded old-school to 2" tape and then mixed by Grammy winner Richard Dodd. Eclectic and varied, but always in a sort of the Flying Burrito Brothers-meet-X- with-good-production kind of way, and full of gorgeous vocal harmonies from Drennen and Wasserman, the album generated a fair amount of good press when it was released by Populuxe Records in 2007. ~ Steve Leggett