Pacific Range channel the Allman Brothers, Gram Parsons and a little bit of Grateful Dead
Purple mountain majesty separating sunny skies and curling blues ocean waves: that’s the somewhat psychedelic logo for Pacific Range, and it neatly captures the band’s retro hippie vibe. The youthful ensemble’s music cheerfully evokes the late 1960s-early ’70s heyday when the likes of Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, Clarence White, Herb Pedersen and Jerry Garcia were unselfconsciously mashing up bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll.
The Band, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Grateful Dead reflected that era’s dramatically shifting cultural tides and musical tastes in the moment. Comprised of guitarists Clay Finch and Seamus Turner, bassist Cameron Wehrle and drummer Nate Ward, Pacific Range looks back while pushing forward with melodic tunes like the Allman-esque “Sending It,” “Santa Monica (Through the Canyon),” which manages to sound both yearning and celebratory (“Work’s all over and I got my pay/ Over the hill and to the highway / Santa Monica, I’m here to stay”), and the noodly, 11-and-a-half-minute instrumental “Desert Waves,” which wouldn’t be out of place at a Dead tribute.
Finch (whose confident fretwork and mellow tones also light up Mapache, another “California conscious country” act stirring interest in L.A.’s Americana community), Turner and Ward first began jamming together four years ago while studying music at Chico State, where they started recording as Dakota Cree. Former schoolmate Wehrle joined the lineup after the band relocated to L.A.
They’ve recently been road-testing material from their forthcoming EP during a residency at West L.A.’s Neat Bar, which they’ll certainly bring to TRiP the next two Thursdays. Recommended if you like Gram Parsons, the Grateful Dead or Beachwood Sparks.
— Bliss Bowen
Pacific Range perform at TRiP (2101 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica), at 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2; no cover. EP release show at TRiP the following Thursday, Nov. 11. Call (310) 396-9010; pacificrangeband.com.