Few traditions run as deep and ring as true as California’s folk-rock pedigree. Since the Laurel Canyon scene blossomed into the nation’s collective consciousness in the 1960s, it seems someone has been standing at the ready, arms outstretched, just waiting for the baton to be passed along. Fast-forward to 2014, and it appears to finally be Tall Tales’ turn to run a victory lap. The onetime Ventura-based band now resides in Los Angeles full-time, and their recently released album, Besides, nicely plants the group at the epicenter of the SoCal folk-rock scene. Like records past, frontman Trevor Beld-Jimenez steers the ship here, but the liner notes also boast a strong cast of guests, including wife Tania, longtime collaborator Seth Pettersen, and West Coast folk-rock staple Neal Casal. As far as highlights go, Besides is brimming with plenty of beautiful little moments. On the breezy “Hide Your Love Away,” Trevor is joined by a team of backup vocalists, providing for some of the record’s strongest and prettiest harmonies. On the flip side of the coin, album ender “She Won’t” kicks off with a big, reverb-y guitar line, and dips in and out of full-on psychedelic rock-out mode alongside a heap of pounding pianos and fat, thumping drums. As a whole, Besides stands to situate Tall Tales at the top of the heap, but perhaps more importantly, it reassures folk fans that the scene is most definitely alive and kickin’.
Tall Tales & the Silver Lining