Here’s the excellent new single from I See Hawks in L.A. frontman, Robert Rex Waller Jr. We get to see Waller lending his characterful voice to ‘Gypsy Rider’, the classic Gene Clark song. Alongside Waller, Carla Olson delivers an outstanding harmony vocal and is also on production duties. It’s a delightful way to close the circle as Carla Olson performed on Clark’s original back in 1987 on the ‘So Rebellious a Lover’ album. Flowing, tumbling piano from Skip Edwards (Dave Alvin, Dwight Yoakam) runs through the song in melodic currents and, towards the end, Stephen McCarthy (The Long Ryders, The Jayhawks) – who has released some wonderful music with Olson recently – performs a dramatic solo on the lap steel. With John York (The Byrds, Doug Sahm) also appearing on guitar, this is a stunning collective of performers.
Waller and Olson have a long history of collaboration. Olson’s 2013 album ‘Have Harmony, Will Travel’ included two songs with Waller and their duet ‘Bossier City’ was on the I See Hawks in L.A. record ‘Shoulda Been Gold’ in 2010. ‘Gypsy Rider’ will feature on the new album ‘See The Big Man Cry’, which was produced by Olson and is due out on 20th October 2023. It’s the second time Waller has released an album under his own name and he was well supported by a stellar cast of acclaimed musicians, including Benjamin Lecourtourt (The Wallflowers), JD Walters (Freddie Hart) and Gia Ciambotti (Lucinda Williams, Bruce Springsteen) as well as Olson, York, Edwards and McCarthy. It’s an Americana-dream of a line-up. A&R man Saul Davis worked closer with Olson to select covers that cut across a range of genres and allow Waller to demonstrate his vocal versatility. Davis says of the new music: “If you like Raul Malo, Gene Pitney, or Randy Travis you will love this album. If you like the Cactus Blossoms, Jamestown Revival or the Milk Carton Kids you will love this album.”
This is a treat, delivered by some truly fine musicians. Check it out.