On an unusually snowy Friday night in Nashville, Escondido continually wowed and wooed an enthusiastic crowd for one of the best nights of music I've ever experienced in this fair city.
Celebrating the release of their new debut album The Ghost of Escondido, Jessica Maros and Tyler James used the opportunity to prove that your first album doesn't have to sound like a first album. Backed by an incredible 4-piece band, Jessica and Tyler impressively recreated the incredible sonic atmosphere of The Ghost of Escondido, while still adding a few minor tweaks here and there to make their live show a truly unique experience. In a time when a plethora of studio trickery can propel a band past their talents (or lack thereof), it's so refreshing and enjoyable to hear a band that is so authentically gifted and musically creative.
Escondido played the entirety of The Ghost of Escondido and they even threw in a few special surprises at the end of the set. They opened with "Evil Girls" and as soon as Jessica started singing, my ears were mesmerized by the smokey tone of her vocals. Tyler's spaghetti western trumpet lines really set the "desert starry night" ambiance perfectly as well. As they nailed one song after the other, it was really cool to watch the duo having fun and enjoying the crowd. Jessica's Stevie Nicks meets June Carter Cash stage persona and Tyler's mile-wide smile showed just how much fun they were having playing together. While every single song was spot on, highlights of the initial set included the bluesy drive of "Bad Without You," the ghostly sway of "Willow Tree," the cinematic trumpet of "Rodeo Queen," and the singalong chorus of "Cold October."
Once Escondido finished playing through The Ghost of Escondido, they played a trio of spectacular non-album songs that showed they've got even more incredible music up their sleeves for their next album. First up was a jaw-dropping cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" that was as smolderingly amazing as, or possibly even a smidge better than (blasphemy!), the original. They then played two brand new songs that are already slated for their next album. First up was slow-build burner "Midnight Train" featuring Tyler playing some tasty keys and then the rocking swagger of "Uh-Huh" to close things out. Never have I been to a debut album release show where such a brand new band was so successful at recreating the sonic oomph of the album (much less surpassing it) as Escondido was able to last night. Forget any "they sound like x" comparisons, Escondido is already a standalone act that can more than back it up in a live setting.
- "Evil Girls"
- "Bad Without You"
- "Cold October"
- "Rodeo Queen"
- "Willow Tree"
- "Special Enough"
- "Keep Walkin'"
- "Black Roses"
- "Chase the Moon"
- "Don't Love Me Too Much"
- "Wicked Game" (Chris Isaak cover)
- "Midnight Train" (new song)
- "Uh-Huh" (new song)
Also, in case you want more Escondido (and who doesn't?), here's an interview I did with them for CMT Edge last week: