Devendra Banhart released his new album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon , recorded at home in Topanga, CA throughout the Spring of 2007 co-produced by Noah Georgeson and Devendra. Tonight, Wednesday, September 26 he and his regular touring band will be performing on NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” Devendra and band kicked off an extensive North American tour September 1 in Vancouver, BC, ending in Los Angeles in mid October in celebration of the release of the new album. Banhart exploded on the international music scene in 2002 quickly winning a coterie of devoted fans as well as an unusually hefty amount of critical kudos right from the outset. The critics’ acclaim and the size of his audience both at home and abroad earned by his debut Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs Of The Christmas Spirit was impressive to begin with and increased dramatically with each subsequent release: 2004’s Rejoicing In The Hands , Nino Rojo and 2005’s Cripple Crow . The touring line-up will be: Devendra (Vocals, Guitar); Noah Guitars); Andy Cabic (Guitar); Luckey Remington (Bass); Greg Rogove of Priestbird (Drums); Pete Newsom (Keyboards, Percussion). Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon was released world-wide by XL Recordings and hit U.S. stores September 25 in two editions – a standard edition in jewel case and a deluxe version that comes in a digipak with 60 page book of Devendra’s drawings and photos.
For the writing and recording of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon Banhart set up housekeeping in a rustic hillside home in the longstanding bohemian enclave of Topanga, North of Los Angeles. Noah, Devendra and engineer Beauraymond Fletcher created their recording studio (known by a myriad of names including “P.I.G Studios” and “Relax the Eagle Unmask the Beagel”) in a second floor recreation room with a panoramic view of the canyon. The new album has a nocturnal feel with performances that respectively evoke hushed, twilight atmospherics or boisterous, late night partying. There’s wide but natural stylistic breadth evident, running the gamut of gently crooned ballads like “Bad Girl,” the loping Blues of “Saved,” epic rockers such as “Seahorse,” sprightly reggae tunes, sultry South American stunners like “Cristobal” and a few fun surprises mixed in for good measure. At the same time it’s a more focused effort. Where Cripple Crow sounded like Devendra trading licks with a never ending caravan of passing musical gypsies, Smokey is very much the work of a band, Devendra’s regular touring line-up strategically complimented by a few very special guests. The vocal arrangements are noticeably more intricate and ambitious with lush harmonies running through many of these numbers. The instrumental performances are comfortably loose but in-the-pocket. They’re a rich blend of acoustic and electric guitars, understated drumming and gentle percussion, diffident bass and a variety of downhome keyboards (venerable upright piano, Hammond B-3, sharp electric piano) and subtly colored with the occasional lightest touch of strings or woodwinds.
Devendra Banhart was born in 1981 in Houston, TX then moved with his family to live with his grandmother in Caracas, Venezuela. When his mother remarried, the family relocated to Encinal Canyon in California where he first began to play music and learned to speak English. Devendra began making waves in underground music circles in 2002 with his debut album Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs Of The Christmas Spirit . Over the course of 2003, Oh Me Oh My. became a grass roots sensation attracting a passionate and rapidly growing audience as well as abundant praise from the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Arthur Magazine, LA Weekly, and Magnet among others. When Rejoicing In The Hands and Nino Rojo were released in Spring and Fall 2004 respectively, Devendra’s following became still larger and more zealous and two headlining tours packed venues across the country and overseas. Meanwhile, journalists on both sides of the Atlantic were unstinting in their praise of these two albums. The following year he recorded and released Cripple Crow to even greater overwhelming acclaim from Rolling Stone , Mojo, Sunday New York Times Magazine Harp and Paste among many others. He toured with his band filling large halls across the U.S. going on to play large, prestigious music festivals around the world including America’s Coachella, and Bonnaroo. In February 2007 he headlined a bill at Carnegie Hall of friends and colleagues called “Welcome To Dreamland” curated by ex-Talking Heads David Byrne.
Devendra Banhart has emerged as one of the most fascinating, unpredictable and inspiring artists of his generation and with Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon he continues to surprise and delight an ever-increasing audience of fans and critics alike.
For more information visit: www.devendrabanhart.com and myspace.com/devendrabanhart
DEVENDRA BANHART TOUR DATES
Thu Sept 27 New York City at Grand Ballroom
Sat Sept 29 Philadelphia at Theater of living arts
Mon Oct 1 Washington DC at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
With Jana Hunter opening
Thu Oct 4 Nashville TN at City Hall
Sat Oct 6 Dallas at Granada Theater
Sun Oct 7 Austin at La Zona Rosa
With Hecuba opening
Tue Oct 9 Albuquerque at Sunshine Theater (Native American benefit)
Wed Oct 10 Tucson at Rialto Theater
Fri Oct 12 Phoenix at Marquee Theater
Sat Oct 13 Los Angeles at Orpheum