Go West

“There aren’t so many real cowboys left in America, just a lot of folks who dress like them,” writes Brendan Leonard. Maybe the cowboy is gone, but the tradition of going West to reinvent oneself has remained a part of our culture.  Where does that desire come from? Is it a part the American Psyche? In Brendan’s case, it came from his father’s passion for the West. In small town Iowa, the only way Brendan and his dad, Joe, could foster the dream of red rock and sage was by watching westerns. Lots of westerns. Today, Brendan presents a story about mountain people and the dreams parents instill in their children. Go West.

Music: 

All the songs from Brendan’s episode come from Seattle singer/songwriter Gabriel Mintz off of his new album Volume one. Here is a little bit about Gabe.

Seattle-based Gabriel Mintz has a need to write songs. Lots of them. It’s like blood or breathing. From his West Village days on Bleeker Street to his Greyhound Bus desert individuations, Mintz has written more than a hundred songs that tell of characters and sketched out scenes. Vocals are a gangly call. Dirtied, but on. Closer to the mic, his lower register becomes unashamed of its beauty. He’s roots type Americana-leaning with a warm spatial drone.

Capturing this sublime aridness, Mintz released Volume One this spring. It documents his first full-length foray and it’s an adventurous one. The expansive beauty of tracks like “Western Days,’ “Atom Bomb” and “Firefly” amble along the mental throughway like brush across a barren Texas highway.

These contemplative capsules were destined to accompany the open plains as seen from an auto on cruise control or the dew-tinted window of a passing train. The moods that reverberate on Volume One are many; from the gritty thump of “Safeway” to the 60’s pop harmonies of “Sofa Bed” where Mintz sounds like a cross between Roger McGuinn and Neil Diamond to the majestic “Desert Sky” whose stream-of-consciousness vocal sounds like a channeling of Jim Morrison from his epic ode “The End.”

Anchoring Gabriel’s visceral ruminations are Trent Moorman (Head Like A Kite) on drums and producer Geoff Stanfield (Sun Kil Moon) on bass who both recently joined him for a four-song live session at Seattle’s world-famous KEXP studios. The radio station’s Morning Show host/producer John Richards quipped “This new Gabriel Mintz is pretty stunning stuff, emotional & beautiful music.”

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