With his heart in the Americana sound, coming out of his long-time East Nashville residence, but with roots that are firmly in the soil of California, it should probably come as no surprise that Don Gallardo produces music that merges the twang of country with 1970s Laurel Canyon influences. Gallardo’s latest addition to an already very highly regarded body of work is the seven-track EP ‘In The Name of Good Intentions’ and it is fair to say that this small but perfectly formed piece of work can only add to that burgeoning reputation.
Featuring the vocal talents of Lilly Winwood, daughter of Steve, on four of the tracks these are songs with a distinct country feel to them but in that grown-up way that always seems to raise East Nashville residents above the conveyor belt of mainstream Nashville look and soundalikes. Opening track ‘Rhyder’s Song (Along The Way)’ is a gentle introduction to how well the voices of Gallardo and Winwood mesh together into something really rather lovely. Winwood’s contribution here is mainly as harmony to Gallardo’s heartfelt vocals but, with mournful fiddle and acoustic guitar, it works beautifully as a perfectly constructed piece of country.
‘Shine A Light On Me’ raises the tempo with honky-tonk piano and twangy guitar given a surprise brass accompaniment. This is a proper duet with Winwood sharing the vocals to great effect and has already been lauded as one of the top country/Americana songs to emerge this year.
Lucy Winwood’s vocals are reminiscent of an Alison Moorer or Holly Williams and are perfectly suited to these very much country-influenced songs. This is never better illustrated than on the pared-back duet and highly original cover of ‘Bad Moon Rising’, a 50-year-old classic given a whole new twist and lease of life here with minimal acoustic accompaniment. It acts as a great showcase for Winwood’s vocal talents.
Biggest disappointment here, as with all good EPs, is the sheer brevity of it all. These voices work together so well that a full album surely must follow. Great stuff.