Where I Come From
The New CD
Where I Come From
in stores now!
Both CDs available now at the shows
also at: www.woodstockrecords.com & iTunes
The New Riders of the Purple Sage has released its first studio CD in over 20 years. This legendary band’s renaissance began four years ago and continues today with over 100 shows annually to audiences throughout the United States and Canada. The CD, Where I Come From, features 12 new songs of which seven were written by David Nelson and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Also included are Carl Perkins Wears The Crown, an ode to the rockabilly king, written by Michael Falzarano (formerly of Hot Tuna) along with Something in the Air Tonight, two live show favorites Higher, penned by Johnny Markowski, and Olivia Rose by Ronnie Penque, as well as a cover of the classic Minglewood Blues. The CD’s cover art work was created by famed San Francisco artist Stanley Mouse. Where I Come From is psychedelic Americana at its finest….MVD Distribution
Where I Come From
The New Riders of the Purple Sage
David Nelson, Buddy Cage, Michael Falzarano, Ronnie Penque & Johnny Markowski
With Mookie Siegal – Keyboards on tracks 4, 5, 8, 11 & 12 & Christian Cassan – Percussion on tracks 2, 4, 5, 7 & 9
1. Where I Come From 7:40
2. Big Six 4:16
3. Barracuda Moon 7:56
4. Higher 6:00
5. Down The Middle 5:33
6. Them Old Minglewood Blues 5:01
7. Something In The Air Tonight 3:56
8. Olivia Rose 5:23
9. Blues Barrel 5:58
10. Ghost Train Blues 10:36
11. Carl Perkins Wears The Crown 4:33
12. Rockin’ With Nona 6:57
Produced by Michael Falzarano
As Pete Welding suggested in the original liner notes of the first Paul Butterfield album The Paul Butterfield Blues Band:
“To fully appreciate this album, we suggest you play it at as loud as possible.” We think the same applies here!
There is also a bonus disc that was intended to only go out to radio but because we had some other cool stuff hanging around we decided to add it to this promo CD and make it available to all for a limited time. It features radio mixes of Where I Come From, Barracuda Moon and Higher along with Pour house Jelly an Instrumental jam played and recorded at sound check at The Pour House down in Charleston, SC in ’07, Let it grow a Falzarano tune played and recorded at sound check at the Shawnee Cave in ’06. We later added some masterful Hammond organ playing by Professor Louie to those two tracks. Luckily our ace sound man at the time Tim Stiegler captured these tunes because we only played them that one time, we just started jamming and got lucky. The remaining four tracks Louisiana Lady, Peggy O, Truck Driving Man and Dirty Business are from the DVD/CD we put out in ’06, Live At Turkey Trot Acres. We couldn’t fit them onto the CD back then so we’re happy to get those out in the world now. We hope you enjoy both discs. Check back soon because both discs will be available here for mail order before the in stores-street date which is June 2.
Where I Come From (4:20)
Barracuda Moon (4:09)
Pour House Jelly – Instrumental (4:30) With Professor Louie
Soundboard Series recorded live @ sound check by Tim Stiegler @ The
Pour House 9/18/07. Additional recording @ LRS Studio 2/11/09.
Let It Grow (12:33) With Professor Louie
Soundboard Series recorded live @ sound check by Tim Stiegler @
Shawnee Cave 9/30/06. Additional recording @ LRS Studio 2/12/09.
Louisiana Lady (5:04)
Peggy O (6:12)
Truck Driving Man (6:23)
Dirty Business (18:06)
Recorded live by Jeff Stachyra @ Turkey Trot Acres 7/30/06.
Produced by Michael Falzarano
Reviews & Interviews
WRSU-FM, Best of 20091/09/10
By Richard Skelly
I really like ‘Where I Come From’ and been playing it nearly every week on the radio show – blues- at WRSU-FM.. It made my Top 10 list for 2009.
Denver Westworld Music, Best of 2009 1/07/10
Where I Come From (WoodstockRecords). It’s been more than three decades since the New Riders first fused psychedelia and country (with a little help from Jerry Garcia), and on Where I Come From, the band still proves plenty capable of digging into a good jam and letting it all hang out. —
Elmore Magazine 9/19/09
Originally known as Jerry Garcia’s pedal steel offshoot from the Grateful Dead, the New Riders of the Purple Sage have had a long and colorful history. John Dawson and David Nelson teamed with Garcia and a host of talented musicians. Their eponymous debut, released in 1971, remains a country-rock classic. Buddy Cage eventually replaced Garcia and numerous lineup changes occurred over the decades. Flash forward to the surprising 2005 announcement that the New Riders had reformed with a new lineup including Nelson, Cage, Hot Tuna’s Michael Falzarano and the lockstep rhythm section of Johnny Markowski and Ronnie Penque (both from Stir Fried).
This album marks their first major studio project and is a tasteful collection of 12 tracks produced by Falzarano. The Riders’ sound is built on the twangy twin-Telecaster guitars of Nelson and Falzarano combined with Cage’s virtuosity as one of the world’s top steel guitarists, wringing tones from his instrument that range from weepy to flat-out distortion. David Nelson Band alumnus Mookie Siegel adds keyboards to five tracks, and everyone except Cage sings lead.
Seven of the songs were co-written by Nelson and legendary Dead lyricist Robert Hunter (who co-wrote most of the songs on Bob Dylan’s latest record). All of them sparkle with Hunter’s wit and imagery. It was Hunter who named the band the Riders of the Purple Sage, Nelson added the “New” later. Especially fun is the Chuck Berry-meets-the Burrito Brothers album closer “Rockin’ With Nona.” Drummer Markowski’s “Higher” is set to join the Riders’ agricultural-anthem pantheon alongside “Panama Red” and “Henry.” Welcome back, New Riders of the Purple Sage. It was worth the wait. Please don’t keep us waiting as long for the next one.
ASCAP Audio Portraits 8/02/09
Here the link to a great review and interview with David Nelson on deadnet.com
Relix Magazine 7/22/09
If there was anyone who needed proof that the present-day lineup of the New Riders of the Purple Sage isn’t just an oldies band going through the motions rehashing fan faves, then here it is: Where I Come From finds the Riders fresh, fiery, and funkier than ever. Strong songs (eight new Robert Hunter/David Nelson tunes with Riders Michael Falzarano, Johnny Markowski, and Ronnie Penque contributing, as well) and soaring jams (led by Telemaster Nelson and pedal steel monster Buddy Cage) make this a much-welcome chapter in the evolution of the Dead family tree. Does it sound like the New Riders? Fo’ sho’. And that’s a good thing.
Music news and notes
Music fans into the Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead back in 1971 were probably equally turned on by the hippie country rock sounds of New Riders Of The Purple Sage. Featuring guitarists David Nelson (lead guitar) and Buddy Cage (steel guitar) backing up the songs of John Dawson, the New Riders were signed to Columbia by mogul Clive Davis and went on to record 12 albums while selling 4 million. A revived New Riders lineup—featuring Nelson and Cage along with a new rhythm section (Ronnie Penque bass and Johnny Markowski drums) and Hot Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano—has yielded the band’s first new studio album in twenty years. Most of the tracks on Where I Come From were co-written by Nelson and his long time good buddy, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. An air of spontaneous psychedelia abounds on Where I Come From, with Nelson and Cage recreating that magical New Riders guitar sound that so many Deadheads tripped out to back in 1972.
Here’s a link to a Buddy Cage interview with MWE3.COM
The Aspen Times 5/02/09
By Stewart Oksenhorn
By all rights, New Riders of the Purple Sage should have come to a quick end when co-founder Jerry Garcia who formed the band (along with John Dawson) as an outlet for his latest interest, the pedal steel dropped out, in 1971. So the fact that NRPS is still in business beats considerable odds. “Where I Come From” finds the group still led by original singer-guitarist David Nelson on solid ground, making psychedelic country-rock distinguished mainly by the current pedal steel player, Buddy Cage, and lyrics by Garcia’s songwriting partner, Robert Hunter.
Village Soup.com (The Herald Gazette, Maine) 5/03/09
Robert Hunter helps Dylan, New Riders
By Tom Von Malder
Bob Dylan: Together Through Life (Columbia) Dylan’s 46th album, again on his long-time label Columbia, is an album about love, drenched in the blues. It has a down home, casual feel. Two tracks with the immediate impact are the opening up-tempo love song, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” with lead guitar by Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers (Tom Petty’s band), and the harder blues of “Shake Shake Mama” with its salty-tongued women…“This Dream of You“ is the only song here with solo Dylan lyrics. For the rest he is aided in writing by the great Robert Hunter, long a lyricist for the Grateful Dead.…
New Riders of the Purple Sage: Where I Come From (Woodstock Records). “Panama Red” and Powerglide” still remain two of my favorite albums, and I did see the band perform in a small Chicago ballroom once (although I recall the prevalent smell of marijuana giving me a headache). This, amazingly, is the band’s first studio album in 20 years. NRPS originally was formed so the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia could play pedal steel guitar. John Dawson was the songwriter and the band was propelled by David Nelson’s guitar and Buddy Cage’s pedal steel. They signed with Columbia Records and spent 11 years touring and releasing 12 albums. But the group’s momentum dissipated and the band went into “mothballs.” In 2005, however, long-time Hot Tuna (a Jefferson Airplane related band) guitarist Michael Falzarano, with bassist Ronnie Penque and drummer Johnny Markowski, joined Nelson and Cage to revive the band. Along the way, 12 new songs were written, including seven co-written by Nelson and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. The Nelson-Hunter tracks include some of the album’s strongest, including the opening title track, which is instantly likable and, at 7:40, contains lengthy instrumental portions in the center and end. They also co-authored the epic-length “Ghost Train Blues” (10:36), which has some very nice guitar work; the pedal steel-filled “Big Six” (“Lovin’ your brother/Then pickin’ him clean”); and the mid-tempo “Barracuda Moon,” with its twisty little melody and fine instrumental close that extends it to 7:56. There is a natural flow to the collaborations. By the way, Nelson and Hunter did play together with Garcia in a band in 1962. Falzarano wrote “Carl Perkins Wears the Crown,” which mentions other musical geniuses in each of their genre, then says Perkins was best when it came to rockabilly. Markowski wrote “Higher,” about working in a mountain garden, and Penque wrote the sweet “Olivia Rose,” another of the album’s highlights. The band also covers “Them Old Minglewood Blues. Falzarano, who produced the album, said, “We played live in the studio old school, five musicians in a room playing together, catching the energy as it happened. Most of the songs on the CD are first or second takes; no song was played more than three times. The Hunter/Nelson tune ‘Barracuda Moon’ is my favorite song on the CD. It’s not only the first take, but the first time we ever played it. For me, magic happened on that take.” The copy of the album I received came with a 66-minute, nine-track bonus disc. It includes radio edits of “Where I Came From,” “Barracuda Moon” and “Higher,” as well as six live tracks. Two of the live tracks are recordings of “Pour House Jelly” and “Let It Grow” with Professor Louie. The later is 12:33 long and very good. The remaining four live tracks revisit popular songs by the band, including an up-tempo “Louisiana Lady,” a mellow “Peggy O” with lots of pedal steel, a fast-paced cover of Buck Owens‘ “Truck Driving Man” and the mid-tempo, 18-minute long “Dirty Business.” Both “Louisiana Lady” and “Dirty Business” were written by Dawson back in the day. Grade: A
Marin Independent Journal 5/06/09
It seems unbelievable, but the New Riders of the Purple Sage, a storied country-rock band that had seemingly been relegated to the annals of Marin rock history, has re-emerged with a new CD, the revered group’s first studio album in 20 years. Formed in Marin in 1969 to give the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia an outlet for his inchoate pedal steel playing, The New Riders released a dozen albums and sold four million records in their 11-plus-year career. Named after a Zane Grey western novel, the band fostered a dope-smoking cowboy image that was in tune with the California hippie zeitgeist of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Although most of their songs were written by frontman John “Marmaduke” Dawson, the New Riders are most closely associated with their lone hit single, “Panama Red,” written by non-member Peter Rowan. In 2005, Hot Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano helped revived the New Riders, joining forces with two original members – singer-guitarist David Nelson and pedal-steel player Buddy Cage, who had replaced Garcia in 1971. With bassist Ronnie Penque and drummer Johnny Markowski, the new New Riders have been touring and writing songs, a dozen of which are on the new CD, “Where I Come From.” Seven of the songs, including the title track, were co-written by Nelson and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, who also co-wrote songs on Bob Dylan’s new album. You can hear Garcia’s influence on the Nelson/Hunter tune “Big Six,” with its Dead-like arrangement and guitar lines. Nelson/Hunter resurrect the literate days of Hunter/Garcia on “Barracuda Moon,” “Down the Middle” and “Ghost Train Blues. Deadheads will rejoice at the sound of new music by one of the legendary offshoots of the Grateful Dead. And, on the strength of this unlikely rebirth, the New Riders may find some new, younger fans as well. Buy it!
The Grateful Web 5/15/09
Written by Sanjay Suchak
It’s a curious sight; the art on the cover is by Stanley Mouse. The liner notes include songs written by David Nelson and Robert Hunter and the first song clocks in at nearly eight minutes. When I opened the envelope that contained “Where I Come From” I admit I was a bit puzzled. Surely this had to be a best of compilation or a live recording? However to my surprise, it was neither, it was a new studio album from the New Riders of the Purple Sage Why was I surprised? Flash back for a moment to 2007 when they had this to say:
Grateful Web: So I’ve got to ask, is there any hope of a new studio record now that you’ve got
both a live CD and DVD under your belts?
David Nelson: Oh, now you’re talking some real dough. Oh we’d love to do that, if anyone has
some benevolent benefactors that would like to sponsor us.
Michael Falzarano: All I can say is that it won’t happen this year, because we’re booked out
until the end of this year.
Buddy Cage: I do a show called Jam-On on Sirius, and let me tell you man; they don’t want to
hear a whole bunch of studio stuff. They want to hear mostly live stuff, so who the hell wants to
make a studio album these days.
David Nelson: I think I’d love to make a studio record, but then sometimes when you get back
into the studio you think. Ah now I remember…. and forget it, forget it. It’s a labor of love and
a lot of work. There’s a lot of pressure on you when you’re in the studio. And you always end
up staying there all night to fix what you did. It just goes on and on…It’s crazy.
So overcoming my obvious surprise I immediately had to listen and in my CD player it has remained ever since. It is undeniably classic New Riders. Wikipedia says the band peaked in 1973, but by the sound of this record they’re just getting warmed up after 38 years together.
Opening with the title track “Where I Come From,” an unapologetically rambling biographical ballad written by Nelson and Hunter which has long distinctive guitar solos from both Buddy Cage and David Nelson This song is pure New Riders. At just under 8 minutes, it certainly isn’t a pop standard, but at this point in their careers I don’t think the New Riders were looking in that direction. The following two tracks “Big Six” and “Barracuda Moon” are extraordinarily reminiscent of the early New Riders songwriting with Dylan-esque lyrics and delivery that rivals or exceeds what Garcia did with the first incarnation of the band. “Higher” is arguably the most country-flavored track on the album. Written and sung by drummer Johnny Markowski it is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The twangy guitar solos prove that the New Riders can adapt to many sounds while still sounding fresh and interesting. With “Them Old Minglewood Blues” the New Riders offer their take on this classic piece of musical Americana while leaving plenty of room for a slice of Buddy Cage’ dynamic pedal steel solos. With other standout tracks including “Olivia Rose”, “Blues Barrel” and “Carl Perkins Wears The Crown” there is honestly no bad track on this album. The basis for a studio album was conceived when last year upon his return from a tour, David Nelson found song lyrics in an email from Robert Hunter. The collaboration between the two grew and eventually “Where I Come From” was born. Produced by Michael Falzarano, who last year released his fantastic solo debut “We Are All One,” the Where I Cime From is meticulously crafted with each band member having their own distinctive voice and mark on the album. Buddy Cage was quoted as saying “Everything we’ve done together over these 38 years has come to a sweet point with [this album].” I would have to agree wholeheartedly with that statement and without a doubt this album is a must have for any New Riders fan, or even any fan of southern rock, jam bands, or even country. This is a good down-home listen in an era where that is becoming harder and harder to find.
Written by Jud Conway
The New Riders of the Purple Sage formed in 1969 as a vehicle for Jerry Garcia to play pedal steel guitar and John Dawson to promote his original songs. Almost forty years later, notwithstanding a twenty-five year hiatus, the legendary “psychedelic cowboy band” returns with Where I Come From, its first studio offering in twenty years.
The incarnation of NRPS that was signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis disbanded around 1980. In 2005, guitarist Michael Falzarano (Hot Tuna), bassist Ronnie Penque, and drummer Johnny Markowsi revived the band with original members David Nelson (guitar) and Buddy Cage (pedal steel). Well-received tours, along with a burgeoning co-writing relationship between David Nelson and famed Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, augmented by original contributions from new members Falzarano, Penque, and Markowski, laid the groundwork for Where I Come From. Recordings were conducted mostly live in the studio with as few takes as possible to preserve a spontaneous, organic feel. The band’s own Michael Falzarano helmed the producer’s chair for the proceedings.
Highlights from Where I Come From, an album rife with great songs, include the Hunter/Nelson tunes “Ghost Train Blues,” “Down the Middle,” and, in particular, “Barracuda Moon,” the recording of which, according to Falzarano, was captured the first time the band ever played through the track. Falzarano’s own “Carl Perkins Wears the Crown” ranks among his best work to date. A cover of “Minglewood Blues” breathes new life into the much-interpreted classic. Penque’s “Olivia Rose” and Markowski’s “Higher” fit nicely into the mix.
Where I Come From not only represents a vibrant new chapter in the discography of The New Riders of the Purple Sage, it offers listeners a “cosmic American” classic for the modern era….
New Riders on thebestofwebsite.com 5/30/09
By Barry Small
The New Riders of the Purple Sage have released its first studio CD in quite some time. The last to feature David Nelson and Buddy Cage was 1980’s Feelin’ Alright. David and Buddy resurrected the New Riders in 2005. The new album, Where I Come From, brings them full circle.
One of the ways I judge the strength of an album is when I finish my review if I’m anxious to put the CD on the shelf or do I keep it close to my CD player for a few more listens. The New Riders new album, Where I Come From, is from the latter camp. The music is fresh and full of life. The generous helping of 12 songs include seven penned by team of David Nelson and Grateful Dead lyrist Robert Hunter. Really nice stuff. Nearly every song is a keeper. The material spans the expected musical genres, several blues numbers, a few country tinged pieces, a Chuck Berry style original, some songs that rock, Most exciting, several tracks that stretch out like the title cut, Ghost Train Blues” and “Barracuda Moon.”
We highly recommend Where I Come From.
We had an opportunity to discuss the new album and other topics with New Riders pedal steel guitarist Buddy Cage, Click the link http://www.thebestofwebsite.com/bands/NewRiders/BuddyCage_
Forget the 40 years of history; forget the dues paid and the groundwork laid for what came to be known as the jamband scene; forget the family tree whose roots are tightly entwined with those of the Dead – just forget all that stuff and throw on a copy of the New Riders of The Purple Sage Where I Come From. Pretend it’s the debut album from a new band and listen. Just listen.
You know what? It’s good – damn good, as a matter of fact. No need to give anyone a free ride based on their laurels; the New Riders are making some of the best music of their career. This is no “oldies” act, kids – you want songs? You got ‘em. You want jams? You got those, too.
The first step in the New Riders’ renaissance of the last few years was breathing new life into old classics – letting songs like “Garden Of Eden” and “Portland Woman” off the leash in live settings and seeing where they took the band. With Where I Come From, the New Riders went into the studio with a collection of solid new songs and let the tape roll. What we hear was captured within the first couple passes at each tune with the jams blossoming on the spot.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be friends with The Bard. The Dead – God bless ‘em and more power to ‘em – may have the major-league tour this year and big-gun merchandising … but the New Riders have Robert Hunter. Eight of the 12 tracks on Where I Come From feature new Hunter lyrics with music from the New Riders’ David Nelson. Hunter and Nelson have been at this since the days of the Wildwood Boys (sitting in David’s parents’ living room with Jerry Garcia in the early ’60s trying to figure out the chord changes to old bluegrass songs) and the bond shines through. “Where I Come From” and “Big Six” are chock full of Hunter-style observations and lessons in life; the Bo Diddley snake dance of “Barracuda Moon” takes us to a world of outlaws and survivors; “Down The Middle” feels like a sweet soul cousin to the Dead’s “Black Muddy River”. And “Rockin’ With Nona” is one of those tunes that you think you’ve heard before: it may simply honk like a Chuck Berry classic but there are pictures there that could only come out of Robert Hunter’s head.
Fellow Riders and songwriters Michael Falzarano, Johnny Markowski, and Ronnie Penque ought to be proud; their contributions are woven between the Hunter/Nelson tunes and never drop the torch. Markowski’s ”Higher” promises to become a new sing-along classic in Riderworld, while Penque’s “Olivia Rose” is a sweetheart, pure and simple. Michael Falzarano wears many hats on the album: when he wasn’t busy chugging things along with his killer Tele rhythm work or sharing lead vocal chores with Nelson, he was the producer for the WICF sessions, capturing the band’s live sound and keeping it true to the NRPS vibe. Falzarano’s “Something In The Air Tonight” is a showcase for Ronnie Penque with his bass doing a funky, head-bopping camel walk that just grabs ahold of the groove and won’t let go.
And then there’s Buddy Cage.
The single most recognizable element that makes the New Riders’ sound what it is may be the interaction between David Nelson’s B-bender Telecaster and Buddy Cage’s steel guitar. On Where I Come From, Cage is in excellent form: he weaves with Nelson in classic NRPS fashion and proves his mastery of the pedal steel not only as a lead voice, but as a rhythm instrument, as well. And for those who still write off the pedal steel as being “too country,” let Cage’s solos on the title track or “Barracuda Moon” settle on you and see how you feel then. (Here’s a paper towel – that’s your brain dripping onto your shoulder.)
All in all, Where I Come From is a gift from a group of veteran musicians who have nothing to prove – and still have music to make. As mentioned earlier, the album would stand on its own if you knew nothing about the New Riders.
To know the grassroots vibe from all those years ago still exists, however, is truly cool. Play on, boys – play on.
By Tom Crenshaw
Here’s another cool interview with Buddy Cage about Where I Come From and other stuff. Check it out at www.rockom.net.
Athens News 6/04/09
By Dennis Powell
New Riders of the Purple Sage, “Where I Come From” (Woodstock Records, June 2009). Just in time for summer road trips comes what to me is the best driving music in a long, long time. This record screams to be put in the CD player, the shades put on, and the open road embraced. The New Riders have been around for a long time, and “Where I Come From” demonstrates just how good the rockabilly jam band genre can be. Any one of the players would be a standout anywhere else, but together their sound is a reminder that hey, music is fun. Without deviating from a great ensemble sound, the guys find sweetness in “Olivia Rose,” and a happy tribute in “Carl Perkins Wears the Crown,” though there ought to be a warning with “Blues Barrel,” which might make you smile so much your face hurts — it says about all there is to say about rocking blues. If every new car came with a copy of “Where I Come From,” there might not be a crisis in the auto industry.
by Laura Turner Lynch
New Riders Of The Purple Sage – Where I Come From: At it’s inception in the 1970’s New Riders of the Purple Sage was an outlet for Jerry Garcia to play pedal steel. The band in various lineups released 12 albums over an eleven year period before drifting apart. In 2005, David Nelson (guitars/vocals) and Buddy Cage(pedal steel) recruited Hot Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano (guitars, production and vocals) to revive The New Riders of the Purple Sage. Enlisting Ronnie Penque on bass and Johnny Markowski on drums the band toured and was well received. In the spring of 2009, New Riders of the Purple Sage released Where I Come From a twelve track CD that features seven songs co-written by Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. The album captures the classic Rider’s vibe with a contemporary vision. The playing and production on the CD is peppy and precise with a range of melody and moods. The title track that opens the CD is edgy and engaging with slick slide work from Mr. Cage and twangy up-tempo jams. “Big Six” is a county flavored foray with solid guitar grooves and righteous rhythms. “Barracuda Moon” is pointed political prose with cutting chord structures, probing percussion and a murky melody. It is followed by “Higher” a hopeful tune that looks at things that makes the writer and perhaps the listener happy. Other highlights include their tuneful interpretation of the traditional “Minglewood Blues” and “Blues Barrel”, which has a funky feel within a blues format. The New Riders of the Purple Sage are back with a fine country rock album that melds their past and present persuasions.
Stu Levitan’s “Books and Beats,” WXX 6/09/09
To listen to the David Nelson interview on “Books and Beats”
click the link below
By Jud Conway
To listen to the Buddy Cage interview on “Kindweb”
click the link below
To read the Buddy Cage interview on “Hidden Track”
click the link below
Performing Songwriter 6/11/09
There’s no shortage of classic combos attempting to reclaim their branding, even lacking the presence of key personnel. The Who, The Dead, Queen…each has attempted to assert their pedigree with yet another curtain call. Consequently, we find The New Riders regrouped under the auspices of two original members, guitarist David Nelson and pedal steel player Buddy Cage—touting their first studio set in 20 years called Where I Come From.
Admittedly, there’s cause for suspicion; the groups moniker was appropriated by second-stringers after the original outfits demise, and subsequent live offerings have merely re-treaded familiar turf. Fortunately, the new album overcomes such obstacles, boosting credibility through contributions from lyricist Robert Hunter and the trademark sheen of Cage’s steel and Nelson’s melodious intonations. While the musical mix infuses more blues and Southern soul, the stand out songs “Big Six” and “Olivia Rose” suggests The New Riders may be back in the saddle to stay.
By Deborah Grabien
As a 40-year fan of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, I’m delighted to see a new release from them. Where I Come From (Woodstock Records) features seven collaborations between NRPS leader David Nelson and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Two of those, “Big Six” and “Rockin’ With Nona”, light up opposite ends of the CD, with driving freight train beats, and marvellous vocals from Nelson.
Some history: Early NRPS had two songwriters, founder John Dawson (aka Marmaduke), and the late Dave Torbert. NRPS tended toward short, crisp songs, largely because both Dawson and Torbert were bardic in their approach to writing lyrics. The songs were small stories, vignettes of lives and situations: “Henry” is a rollicking adventure with a pot importer in Mexico. “Portland Woman” is told by a touring musician falling for a girl he met backstage. “Contract” was a day in the life of a bounty hunter.
Today’s lineup – original Rider David Nelson, bassist Ronnie Penque, drummer Johnny Markowski, Hot Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano, and legendary pedal steel player Buddy Cage – does a nice job walking the path between old-school NRPS and staking out newer ground. While the Nelson/Hunter collaborations comprise half the song total, other band members contributed their own songs to Where I Come From, and they’re all excellent. Penque’s “Olivia Rose” is a delightful link to the early days. Markowski’s “Higher” is an exemplar of present-day NRPS, and a monster song live; it blows the roof off the venue. Falzarano provides my own personal favourite, the absolutely kick-ass “Carl Perkins Wears The Crown”.
Where I Come From offers a taste of something for everyone, and the taste will linger nicely on your palate.
Honest Tune 6/15/09
By Bill Whiting
Taking a cue from the newly reorganized Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage return to shake things up a bit on their album, Where I Come From. David Nelson and Buddy Cage team up with Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski to gently sail the calm waters of the title track. “Me and the dog might share a bone,” Cage intones masterfully as Nelson and Michael Falzarano combine their dueling guitars to a crescendo, while the rest of NRPS keep the movements steady and relaxed. “Barracuda Moon” pops out as another winning entry from the organization that colored pop culture with “Panama Red.” It’s humming chorus belies a simmering underbelly of intensity that Nelson and Cage steer with unhurried self assurance. “Higher” is “Dirty Business” with a pumping pulse, and Falzarano gets the most out of the NRPS players, turning up the volume and mixing in blended harmonies for full effect. With much of the material written by Robert Hunter and produced by Falzarano, Where I Come From ushers in a new age of New Riders of the Purple Sage, and listeners will gladly take the journey with them over the next horizon.
If there were ever going to be a Mt. Rushmore for the Jamband world, who would you consider as founding father candidates to have their likenesses chiseled in a mountainside? Jerry Garcia, certainly. And it’s hard to imagine Jerry without longtime friend/lyricist/co-pilot Robert Hunter, right? Well, if you trace the Hunter/Garcia relationship back to its California beginnings, you’re going to find another set of roots entwined with theirs: those of guitarist/vocalist/songwriter David Nelson. And not only was Nelson around for the bluegrass-fueled beginnings of the psychedelic music scene in the early 60s, he and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (founded in 1969) are still making their own kind of music today. The “New Riders Renaissance” of 2005 brought original NRPS members Nelson and steel guitar monster Buddy Cage together with longtime jam scene veteran Michael Falzarano (guitar/vocals) and drummer Johnny Markowski and bassist Ronnie Penque of Stir Fried. With the blessing of co-founder John “Marmaduke” Dawson (retired from the music world due to health reasons), the “New” New Riders hit the ground running, breathing new life into old classics such as “Dirty Business” and “Panama Red” – and taking the music to levels the original NRPS lineup never reached. The band’s recently-released Where I Come From not only features strong songwriting from Penque, Markowski, and the Hunter/Nelson team, it is also a fine document of off-the-cuff, from-the-heart live studio jamming … living proof that this isn’t some oldies band going through the motions, folks – the Riders are a creative, fiercely jamming rock and roll band.
We recently caught up with David Nelson at home in Petaluma, CA during a break in the Riders’ current touring schedule. Even though the focus of the interview was meant to be on the new album, it was impossible to talk about the songs without talking about Robert Hunter; and once you mention Robert Hunter, you have to talk about the old days with Jerry Garcia … and … well … you get the picture. Follow link to interview http://www.jambands.com/Features/content_2009_06_28.08.phtml
Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange 7/04/09
By Bob Gottlieb
The New Riders of The Purple Sage which originally started because of Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart’s desire to play more country music, morphed considerably over the years on their epic journey. David Nelson who at times wrote for and played with the Dead is now doing a lot of writing, seven new songs, with Jerry’s old writing partner from the Dead days Robert Hunter, on this their first studio CD in twenty years. David Nelson is still playing guitar and singing and Buddy Cage has long been sitting in for Jerry on the Pedal Steel Guitar, with Michael Falzarano (guitar and vocals), Ronnie Penque (bass and vocals), and Johnny Markowski (drums and vocals) rounding out this latest edition of the band which has been touring for about 4 years. This edition of the band seems to have revitalized the old spirit that was prevalent in the beginning and the new songs carry on with that same energy and spirit that was there in the beginning. Whether it is the addition of these three new members, that happened in 2005, or the rekindling of the Hunter and Nelson songwriting partnership or a combination of the two, or just plain old alchemy, who cares, energy is back and this 12-song studio disc has captured the spirit and feel of the band in its heyday, and psychedelic country sound lives to gallop off toward the sunset and bring in more glorious evenings of music and fun. Kudos to Michael Falzarano for his work as the producer to get this live joy translated to the disc.
Vintage Guitar Magazine 7/14/09
The New Riders ride again! Sounds like a classic western. And this band is indeed pure legend. Launched to satisfy head Deadhead Jerry Garcia’s jones to play his pedal-steel, chief songwriter John Dawson’s lyrics lifted the band above being a mere side project to have a soul – and life – of its own. Signed to Columbia by Clive Davis, it toured for 11 years and released 12 albums along the way.
In 2005, the band reformed; you could call them the new New Riders of the Purple Sage. Early members David Nelson and pedal steel man Buddy Cage are back, along with Hot Tuna guitar slinger Michael Falzarano. With 12 new songs – seven co-written with famed Dead lyricist Robert Hunter – the band has released its first new studio album in 20 years. Kicking off with the title track, the band sounds better than ever. Their roots echo through the songs – Garcia and the Dead, the laidback Bay Area take on country music, and more. And yet the songs resonate with a new energy. The musicianship is impressive, the interplay tight, the solos inspired, the sound warm and bright. Most tracks were cut live in the studio, including “Barracuda Moon,” which was not only a first take, but the first time the band every played the song.
The DailyFreeman 7/17/09
By David Malachowski
New Riders of the Purple Sage live up to their name with ‘Where I Came From’
Legendary group the New Riders Of The Purple Sage were country-rock pioneers, and also part of the early jam band scene by way of their association with the Jerry Garcia (who played pedal steel with them). Formed in the early 70’s as a place for Garcia, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart to play country songs that didn’t fit under the stylistic umbrella of the Grateful Dead, the band also featured singer John Dawson and guitarist/vocalist David Nelson. Eventually, bassist Dave Torbert, drummer Spencer Dryden and pedal steel guitarist Buddy Cage came on board, separating themselves from the Dead, and gaining their own identity. They mined a hippie-country groove ala Poco, with songs about the old west and about recreational drugs (which were their forte). The riders developed a dedicated hardcore fanbase. They finally disbanded in 1982, but a new configuration has just released its first studio album in 20 years on Woodstock records. The new lineup includes longtime members David Nelson and Cage, as well as guitarist Michael Falzarano (Hot Tuna, Professor Louie an the Crowmatix) bassist Ronnie Pengue and drummer Johnny Markowski (both from the band Stir Fried). From the forceful title track, “Where I Come From,” to the haunting “Barracuda Moon,” Nelson’s easy flowing delivery hits home. Cage plies his trademark distorted steel licks to perfection in the skyward-bound “Higher.” But he can go country-clean too, as he does in “Down the Middle” and in the lovely “Olivia Rose”. The New Riders dig a little deeper groove with “Blues Barrel,” while the eerie “Ghost Train Blues” is a highlight. The band has the impossible task of living up to a bigger-than-life legacy, but it does it with ease, and the legend lives on.
Iowa City Press Citizen 7/24/09
By Jim Musser
Initially a mystic-cowboy side-trip into country-rock by Grateful Dead members, the NRPS — fortified by a ready-made buying public of Deadheads — morphed into a free-standing, separate entity fronted by John Dawson and David Nelson and including pedal steel whiz Buddy Cage, bassist Dave Torbert and drummer Spencer Dryden (with assorted Dead guys slipping in on sessions).
Enshrouded in hipster mystique and smoldering cannabis, NRPS became extremely popular in the country-rock demimonde — so in-demand that their Columbia output (seven LPs from 1971 to 1975) quickly outpaced quality new material, and the lineup gradually dispersed as the decade (and success) spooled out.
Various lineups materialized under the NRPS banner for live shows over the years, but this official (reformed in 2005) edition — featuring the charismatic Nelson, the evermore-wizardly Cage and new kids Michael Falzarano, Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski — has cooked up a rock-solid studio long-player that recaptures the Riders’ Western/hippie aura with a dozen tracks that include seven deluxe new co-writes by Nelson and the Dead’s enigmatic lyrical guru, Robert Hunter.
The swirling three-guitar attack (two electrics plus pedal steel) throws out plenty of heat and horsepower, and the jam-worthy rhythm section is strong and flexible.
Tough’n’tender, it’s quality lubrication for a roadside tavern dance floor.
Buy it now at www.woodstockrecords.com
download it from itunes