Thursday, June 6, 2019

Dave Alvin marks 'King of California' silver anniversary with LP reissue, tour

In celebration of the 25th anniversary edition of King of California, out June 28 on Craft Recordings, acclaimed Los Angeles-based artist Dave Alvin will embark on a 22-date U.S. tour beginning June 11, with an intimate conversation and performance at GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.

Dave will share the stage with special guest and King of California producer Greg Liesz on nine dates, seven of which are already sold out, two new dates have been added in the Northwest. A full list of dates is below or at

The album is now available for pre-order.

Recorded in Los Angeles the day after the historic 1994 Northridge earthquake and produced by Greg Leisz, King of California had its genesis in the album’s title track, a readymade folk ballad, written for his mother, in which an aspiring suitor heads west to make his fortune in the wild, still-young Golden State. "'King of California' is when I decided 'this is when I let the song tell me what it sounds like," says Alvin. "Ever since then, that’s been my rule. It sounds ridiculous, but it was something I had to learn."

'King' featured acoustic interpretations of some songs from his catalog, along with new, folk-inflected compositions, and notable covers.

“It was ironic that a guy who was known as a loud guitar player and questionable singer, his best seller was an acoustic album,” says Alvin.

There are songs written and recorded during the ‘80s, including: “Barn Burning” from American Music (1980), “Bus Station” and “Leaving” from the Blasters’ Non Fiction (1983), “Little Honey,” written with X’s John Doe and featured on the Blasters Hard Line (1985), and the “Fourth of July,” which appeared on both X’s See How We Are (1997) and on Romeo’s Escape (1987). “Every Night About This Time” also appeared on the aforementioned album.

Like the records he made as a member of the Blasters, King of California has a variety of covers, including Tom Russell’s’“Blue Wing,” Dallas singer-pianist Whistlin’ Alex Moore’s “West Texas Blues,” retitled “East Texas Blues,” Memphis Slim’s classic “Mother Earth,” and “What Am I Worth,” a George Jones song, featured here as a duet with Syd Straw. The album also includes co-writes with Rosie Flores (“Goodbye Again”) and John Doe (“Little Honey”).

The expanded edition includes a previously unreleased track from the recording sessions, “Riverbed Rag,” an instrumental designed for a guitar-dobro duel by Alvin and Leisz, and inspired by the usually dry San Gabriel River that both musicians grew up exploring. Two additional covers, including Merle Haggard’s “Kern River,” originally recorded for the 1994 Haggard tribute album Tulare Dust(co-produced by Alvin and Tom Russell), and Katy Moffatt’s “The Cuckoo,” from her 1999 Alvin-produced album Loose Diamond, round out the bonus tracks.

“I’m real proud of it twenty-five years later,” Alvin says. “The whole process was a revelation, to record with everybody in the studio sitting roughly in a circle. Sitting there on the edge of my chair with an acoustic guitar knowing that if I blow this chord we have to start over. And I could use my voice; when I was recording electric my voice couldn’t lead the band. In this situation I could. That allowed a certain openness and freedom I hadn’t experienced before. And for Greg, this was his baby, his chance to produce me and get my voice right. His calmness in all of this led to the vibe of the record.”

Tour dates:

June 11 – GRAMMY Museum – Los Angeles, CA*
June 12 – Freight & Salvage – Berkeley, CA* -- SOLD OUT
June 14 – McCabe’s – Santa Monica, CA* -- SOLD OUT
June 15 – AMSD – San Diego, CA* -- SOLD OUT
June 16 – McCabe’s – Santa Monica, CA* SOLD OUT
July 9 – Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
July 11 – City Winery – Chicago, IL
July 12 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
July 13 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI
July 14 – Natalie’s – Columbus, OH – SOLD OUT
July 15 – Natalie’s – Columbus, OH
July 16 – Club Café – Pittsburgh, PA
July 18 – Daryl’s Club House – Pawling, NY
July 19 – City Winery – Boston, MA^
July 20 – World Café Live – Philadelphia, PA^
July 21 – City Winery – New York, NY^
July 23 – Birchmere – Alexandra, VA^
July 29 – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA
July 31 – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA – SOLD OUT
August 1 – Old Church Concert Hall – Portland, OR
August 2 – Brewminatti – Prosser, WA
August 3 – Treehouse Café – Bainbridge Island, WA

*w/Greg Leisz

Track Listing:

King of California
Barn Burning
Fourth of July
Goodbye Again (duet with Rose Flores)

East Texas Blues
Every Night About This Time
Bus Station
Mother Earth
Blue Wing

Little Honey
(I Wont Be) Leaving
What I Am Worth (duet with Syd Straw)
Border Radio

SIDE D – Bonus Tracks
Riverbed Rag*
The Cuckoo (duet with Katy Moffat)
Kern River

*previously unreleased

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