Crack open the Mezcal and the Tequila! There’s a new supergroup on the scene, Glorietta, and they’re delivering some top shelf Alt-rock Americana.
Glorietta is the brainchild of Delta Spirit/Middle Brother’s Matthew Logan Vasquez. Their self-titled record is a collection of songs written and recorded by Vasquez, and his friends over five days in a ramshackle rental property outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Born in a tequila haze, Glorietta was an idea concocted on a drunken night out at a gig with friends. Initially it was devised as a collaboration between Vasquez, Grammy-nominated Austin artist Adrian Quesada, and Texan raconteur David Ramirez; an excuse to make a record and play with friends. The trio quickly expanded, with the inclusion of Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson and songwriter Jason Robert Blum to the ranks. Add in Vasquez’ long time pal Nathaniel Rateliff and you’ve got yourself a veritable supergroup.
Glorietta is right in that production sweet spot. There’s the right amount of polish, but it’s not so over produced that all the life, grit and fun have been tuned out of the record. It’s loose and freewheeling, but also tight enough to be a good recording. Given the musicians assembled from the recording there is naturally an overarching alternative rock/alt country vibe, but there’s still plenty of variation at play, either in terms of mood or genre. Certainly, it never feels like you’re listening to the same song subtly rehashed twelve times. Despite, the party atmosphere of the project, it has thrown up some truly beautiful and poignant moments. “Sinking Ships”, which features Wilson on vocals, is simply sublime, whilst other tracks like “Golden Lonesome” and “Friends” deal with loneliness and the ups and downs of friendship respectively.
I’m not sure there is a track on the record that I dislike. Sure, there are highlights, but not one of the twelve songs on the record feel like filler. Some of them aren’t going to work in every situation, especially live, but there is something there for pretty much every mood – there’s party songs, and then you’ve got your introspective songs dealing with love and heartbreak. Sometimes they’re even side by side, “Heatstroke” for example, a fun rocker that’d go over well live at any show, segues into “Lincoln Creek”, this beautiful and tender lament about life as a touring musician. It shouldn’t work, it should jar, but somehow, on this album it doesn’t.
Queseda has described this as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”, suggesting too that they could never replicate it. Whilst, it’s true that a future Glorietta project might not have that same freewheeling and open collaborative feel, but if this record tells us anything, they’re too good as a collective to leave it there.