Since the release of his previous album, “Photographs of 1971,” Don DiLego has produced and released two EPs as Beautiful Small Machines with his long-time musical partner Bree Sharp (which included a guest appearance by Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon), penned a soundtrack to the feature film “Ranchero”, and helped co-write many of the songs that would appear on Jesse Malin’s “Love it To Life” album. During that same “interim” period, he also played on the Light of Day Tour in Europe, which traveled to over 10 countries sharing the stage with Malin, Marah, Willie Nile, and for a brief fleeting moment, even Bruce Springsteen.
At the beginning of 2010, Don joined Jesse Malin & the St. Mark’s Social and set out on the road with Gaslight Anthem and later Gogol Bordello to begin support of the new album. But soon the inspiration of new songs would begin to pour in, and after returning home, it was back to the writing process again at his wooded escape, Velvet Elk Studios. The “Western & Atlantic EP” was born of a week of isolation in a Portland recording studio called The Secret Society, with Don enlisting Colin Killilea (Yost/Pocketknife) and Marwan Kanafani (City Breathing) as multi-instrumentalists, Gregg Williams (Dandy Warhols, Sheryl Crow) on drums, and longtime songwriting partner and bassist Erik Olsen. The result is a what-you-hear-is what-you-get sort of affair, with everything being tracked live in a room…a highlight of which was an unlikely one-take cover of The Replacements “Here Comes a Regular.” Mixing was done in Charlottesville’s White Star Sound and at the Velvet Elk Studios. But what started out as one album, became two, and upon the release of the Atlantic & Western EP, Don is right back at work finishing the full-length “Magnificent Ram A”. Whereas “Western” is more along the lines of the eclectic soundscape that Don has become known for, “Magnificent Ram A” is it’s alienated older cousin. And so it goes.
Don has released three…check that…now four solo albums, the last of which was the well-received Photographs of 1971 (Velvet Elk Records), until his recent July 2012 release of The Western & Atlantic EP on Velvet Elk. His first two albums, “The Lonestar Hitchhiker (Universal/Kingcuts)” and “The Lonestar Companion (Velvet Elk Records)” were also well-lauded for their retro-twang storytelling.
Recent Press for Western & Atlantic:
From the EP's opener, the slide guitar driven Midnight Train to the final track, the intimate Carry On he touches base with Jeff Tweedy and Howe Gelb. Television Sun starts like an outtake of Neil Young's Harvest Moon before evolving into a road movie theme song that could have been written by Steve Earle. - Here Comes The Flood
Mesmerizes and enlightens. - CD Insight
I know what I like, and I like his new EP "Western & Atlantic", coming out next week on the excellently named Velvet Elk label. - 27Leggies UK
DiLego is cut from the same cloth as performers like Wilco and the Avett Brothers—his songs take country ballads one step beyond their obvious conclusion, yielding a genre-bending hybrid of indie rock and country. - Examiner.com (Elizabeth Rowe)
The seven songs on this EP can qualitatively be with the best americana we’ve heard this year…an album on Jayhawks/Jeff Tweedy level. - Heaven Magazine (Netherlands)
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