“I look for music that’s really heartfelt,” exclaims local singer/songwriter, Dave Glasebrook from behind his horn rimmed glasses and shaggy-yet-stylized beard. It was a cold winter afternoon and I found myself sitting with Glasebrook at the Café Del Marte, his usual haunt. With Dylan quietly in the background singing about men walking down roads, we sat inside trying to stay warm. Sipping coffee and discussing the aesthetics of art, underground rock clubs in Los Angeles we (may or may not, through a boozy haze) remember, and his latest project, Deep Ellum.
Consisting of co-founders Nicholas Gyorkos on bass and Glasebrook on guitar and vocals, Deep Ellum also features Dave Faulkner on Wurlitzer/Hammond Organ and Jeff Wilson laying down the beat; four guys woven from the rich thread of American roots music. Their first recording, Welcome to Deep Ellum (a four-song E.P. released last December on CD or shiny, 12-inch, 45rpm vinyl), is a dusty journey through whiskey bars by way of the swamplands.
“We wanted to create a certain experience with this release,” Glasebrook explains. “And that experience was this Southern, roadhouse rock ‘n roll. Everything played into that, even the neon sign on the cover,” (which was designed by local artist, Yasamine June).
Welcome kicks off with “Brokedown Bronco,” a foot-tapping, boogie number about the old-time favorite country theme, a busted down truck. The journey continues on a song like “Crocker County Line,” where Glasebrook’s crystalline voice leads a lullaby of country-twang filled guitars down a river of Hammond Organ. The music flows further as Glasebrook sings about his love over the Bay and cold water that separates them. But that’s when Deep Ellum decides to turn on the rapids and takes the listener on the turbid jam, “Long Time Gone.” The unforgiving E.P. drops the listener underneath the “Mississippi Moon,” a nine-minute slow jam that sounds like something Creedence Clearwater Revival wishes they wrote.
“The 70’s (era) Austin guys are big influences on the song writing, guys like Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clarke, all that stuff,” Glasebrook admits.
However, what makes Deep Ellum a true, working-class, rock band is the same thing that has broken lesser musicians: the live show. Glasebrook and company are true musicians--dedicated to their craft as much as they are to the audiences’ pleasure—and don’t mind letting the music stretch its legs on songs like “Mississippi Moon,” a crowd favorite. These guys love what they’re doing and they’re good at it, leaving even the most cynical of punks nodding a spikey head to the beat.
“The thing I love about art is that you can create the world that you wished existed. You can make your own reality.”
Deep Ellum will be sharing their world for anyone who listens this Friday, January 25 at the Crepe Place. They will be sharing the stage with Grammy nominee and ex-Nerves singer/songwriter, Peter Case (you know that song, “Hanging on the Telephone” that you love by Blondie? Well they first heard it from the Nerves). Doors are at 8:30pm, show is at 9pm. $12 cover.