A fun, early morning [4:12 A.M.] cut-out to get the juices going!
Named for the highway suspended between Bakersfield and the Kern River Valley, The 178’s reimagines classics from Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson through cloaks of electronic flourishes and dreamlike arrangements. I had the pleasure to visualize this connection from one city to the next, one genre to another, by deconstructing a familiar roadside landmark with an abstract approach that speaks to the album’s quirky sensibilities. On their rendition of “Crazy,” the vocals scatter like broken radio frequencies, the type you’d expect to find in-between AM stations, chirping through the gaps. With elegant instrumentation and production, The 178’s handful of new classics illuminate the connections between the past, the present and every side road along the way.
Evan Calbi: Nylon-string guitar, electric & double bass, pedal steel, vocals
Pat Dietz: Electric guitar
John McClung: Pedal steel arrangement on “Silver Wings”
Bill Severance: Drums
Rich Wenzel: Hammond B3 organ, keyboard
Win_go: Backing vocals
Recorded at Ardent Audio Productions, October 2018
Mixed by Rich Wenzel
Produced by Evan Calbi & Rich Wenzel
Designing artwork for the USC Thornton School of Music affords me many opportunities to re-work classic portraits of equally classical composers. Gustav Mahler, featured above, was a late-Romantic composer whose works are still strikingly modern by today's standards. In service of this, I re-interpreted a profile etching of Mahler by portraitist Emil Orlik in the style of the great Milton Glaser, similar to his Bob Dylan portrait in the 1970s.
Since its inception in 2016, The Bird City Comedy Festival in Phoenix, Arizona has blossomed into a premiere destination for some of the best voices in comedy, improv storytelling & sketch to stretch their wings in the Valley of the Sun. This year, founder and friend Genevieve Rice has trusted me to brand her event, as per our little friend above us. Be on the look-out this spring for apparel and merchandise, as I will undoubtedly by updating this blog with photos of comedians as ersatz fashion models slaying this graphic tee.