by Rick Bell
American Reporter Correspondent
June 23, 2002
DAVE ALVIN AS CALIFORNIA'S MUSICAL AMBASSADOR
POWAY, Calif. -- Dave Alvin can no longer downplay his role as the Golden State's musical ambassador. From the title of his latest release to the CD's artwork to several of the live album's song titles, this record oozes California.
Alvin, the fourth-generation Californian who has just come off a successful reunion tour with his brother Phil and their seminal '80s roots-rock band The Blasters, has compiled 13 songs with a very West Coast vibe.
Most of the tunes are familiar to longtime Alvin fans, but there are occasional echoes of the earliest days of L.A.'s country rock scene. Alvin calls "Highway 99," the road that cuts through the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, his tribute to Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Wynn Stewart - and it features the hard-driving Bakersfield Sound that influenced so many country rockers of the late 1960s.
Appropriately, the album has cuts from several performances around Southern California. It showcases Alvin intimately singing about the pain of being a prisoner of war in the stark, acoustic "Andersonville," yet cuts into classic Alvin rock on "Little Honey," which segues into Bo Diddley's "Who do you Love?"
Alvin will be rather busy this Spring and summer with various projects, including a tour this Summer with the Guilty Men in support of the album. However, he is joining a brief tour of the Knitters - John Doe and other members of X, as well as Alvin on guitar - for a brief tour of - where else? - California and the West Coast.
Rick Bell is a writer and editor living in Poway, Calif.