Dirty Dozen: Lonely Avenue

Lonely Avenue is a four-piece alt-country/Americana band from Bakersfield, California who has been playing around 150 shows per year since 2008.  Can you tell us about yourself?  Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
We are from different places but all of us have spent most of our lives in Bakersfield, CA where we currently reside.  We grew up together and have played music together in one way or another for 15 years.  Lonely Avenue began as a working band doing mostly covers at several bars in Bakersfield.  About five years ago we began to write a lot together and our live performances became mostly original.  We then spent two years working with Brian Boozer at Aum Studios to create our album and we are very proud of it.

How would you describe your music?
Each one of us would give a slightly different answer but I think we agree that our music is influenced by the country music of our Bakersfield home as well as the gospel and blues of our southern roots (Texas and Arkansas).  Our vocalist, Jon Ranger, also has an uncanny knack for catchy melodies so there is also a pop sensibility in there.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
We devour all kinds of music and all of it probably informs our own sensibilities in some way or another. As a collective, most notably Wilco, Ryan Adams, Ray Lamontagne, Bon Iver, Neil Young, and David Bazan.

What are you currently promoting?
Our self-titled debut album is available now on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and Tidal, as well as on CD through CDBaby.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
I think all of our songs define who we were at a particular moment in time.  The last album was very much about loss.  Two of us had gone through divorces and one of us had lost his mother.  Now we are all happy and having kids and in a different place, so we have a bit of distance from those feelings now, which is good.  We can still go to that place for a few minutes when we perform live but we don’t live there anymore.  I would say “I Don’t Understand” probably best encapsulates that time for us.

What are you currently listening to?
Anderson Paak’s new record “Malibu”

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
We will never be able to reach consensus on this so since I’m the one typing (Derek), I will say Neil Young’s “Harvest”.

What are your hopes for your future career?
We would be over the moon to just be able to quit or day jobs.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
I think it would be fun to do a music documentary on the Bakersfield music scene post-Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.  Everybody here kind of lives in the shadow of these giants; some of us feel a connection to those guys and others totally don’t.  There is some really interesting stuff going on musically and artistically in town right now.  I think there is a story to tell about how the current artists either engage with or resent the music that the rest of the world knows our town for.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Musicians have another tool in the belt for self-expression when language doesn’t get it done.

And the worst?
G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
We are exceedingly grateful to all of you who have given the album a listen.  Please drop us a line and say hello on the interwebs and if you ever make it out to California, do come see us! We would love to play for a European audience in the near future.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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