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Rose City Band – Earth Trip

July 19, 2021
Rose City Band – Earth Trip
(LP – Thrill Jockey #THRILL 540LP)

I discovered Rose City Band when I was captured by the eponymous debut album’s cover art that I saw in an AllMusic new release email. My reaction upon hearing it was that this was country shoegaze and I loved it. I couldn’t find anything about the album or band on the internet. Eventually, I learned it was a psychedelic journeyman Ripley Johnson solo project:

“…that refined his more polished and rock-oriented work in bands like Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo into a gauzy, cosmic take on country-folk.”

Allmusic

I enjoyed the second album Summerlong, but it did not hit me as hard as the debut. Earth Trip, takes the lo-fi beauty of the debut and elevates it to reference recording level excellence. Musically and sonically it sounds great.

If you enjoy the mellow folk side of Neil Young (Harvest and Harvest Moon), the noodling guitar and whispered vocals of JJ Cale, the jammy psychedelics of Grateful Dead or the contemporary psychedelic take of The War On Drugs, you will likely dig The Rose City Band.

Per the album’s label’s (Thrill Jockey) website:

Earth Trip was written during the period of sudden shocks and drastic lifestyle changes of 2020, quite literally “called down off the road” as he sings in elegiac album opener “Silver Roses”. Home for an extended period for the first time in years, he was able to reconnect with simple pleasures of home life: hikes in nature, bathing outside and waking with the dawn. Johnson found hope and healing in forming a more mindful relationship with the natural world, from the simple pleasures of tending a garden to sleeping out under the stars. “

Thill Jockey

Besides the overall mellow vibe, the most distinctive feature of the album is Ripley’s fluid guitar that works as effectively as Jerry Garcia (without sounding anything like him). I also love the arrangements and mix, which according to Ripley Johnson:

“I was trying to capture that feeling when you take psychedelics and they just start coming on – maybe objects start buzzing in the edges of your vision, you start seeing slight trails, maybe the characteristics of sound change subtly. But you’re not fully tripping yet. Cooper (Cooper Crain who mixed the album) got the idea right away and his mix really captures that feeling.”

Thrill Jockey

Unfortunately, the album is not available on streaming services like Spotify (although four tracks were issued as singles, so I assume it eventually will be), but it is available on Bandcamp. The other two albums are available on Spotify.

From → Music Reviews

5 Comments
  1. Nice review. I still go towards the debut a little more, personally. Ripley is a wonderful guitarist.

  2. jprobichaud permalink

    Excellent album, this one. Like 1537, I think Ripley does great work.

  3. You introduced me this this music a while ago. Time to listen to some new stuff.

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