Listening to the music of Paladino, you get the sense that the LA quintet has been playing together for years, when in fact, the band is less than a year old. But don’t let the span of time fool you, this band has strong musical roots.
The group’s founders, singer-songwriter, Jonathan Harkham and guitarists, Chris and Adrienne Isom, have known each other for years. Harkham has self-produced three albums, including “Darkcho”, a record of Jewish folk songs, one of which was covered by folk musician, Will Oldham. Chris Isom has been playing guitar since the age of 13 and has played with Mooney Suzuki and Adam Green amongst other bands. Adrienne Isom played with several art-punk bands including Ben Wah Fiesta and The Luvulator. All three spent many years in NYC and have only recently moved back to Los Angeles.
When the Isoms moved back to LA in 2009 (Harkham moved his family back in 2007), the idea of a band became a reality. The trio started getting together and playing Harkham’s new songs and covering their favorite country tunes. Soon, they solidified into a band with the additions of Annie Rothschild on stand-up bass and jazz player, Jon Rygiewicz, on drums.
Harkham, who is also a painter, (and designed the band’s website) is a reluctant lead man. When pressed for the details on his writing process, he packs a lifetime of experience into a paragraph. “While part of the Hasidic Jewish Community in Crown Heights, I painted in the basement of the New York Studio School and drank a 5th of whiskey everyday until I went completely mad, then my best friend died horribly and I went insane again, once and for all. I met a moose in Wyoming and he gave me all the words to write my songs.” Tongue-in-cheek, aside, it was the memory of his best friend’s encouragement of his talent that got Harkham to pick up the pen and guitar and start taking himself seriously.
Paladino has a family-style collaborative approach that allows for everyone to contribute his or her own unique backgrounds and influences. Harkham’s vocals and lyrics bring to mind Velvet Underground-era-Lou Reed, Will Oldham and Bill Callahan of Smog. Chris Isom contributes mesmerizing guitar leads that touch upon Sun Records, Mexican balladry and modern psychedelia. Rhythm guitarist Adrienne Isom’s vocals recall at times Wanda Jackson and at others, Moe Tucker. The charismatic Georgia native Rothschild, lends electric energy and pure southern soul. And the Gene-Krupa-loving, Rygiewicz brings an authentic jazz vibe to Paladino’s music.
The 10 tracks on the record are a mixture of original tunes and country classics: 1.) Lonely Mountain 2.) Snow Deer 3.) Ode to Misery 4.) In Exile 5.) Mexicali Rainsong 6.) Green Green Grass of Home 7.) Have you Ever Been Lonely 8.) Here I Lie 9.) Dim & Gutless 10.) Too Many Rivers
**Sunday, 8/28 Old Towne Pub 9:30/$5/ 21+ 66 N. Fair Oaks Pasadena, CA
**Tuesday, 9/13 Villains Tavern 1356 Palmetto Los Angeles, CA 91003
**Thursday, 9/22 Mercury Lounge 8:00/$5/ 21+ 5871 Hollister Avenue Goleta, CA 93117 w/Loch Lomond presented by Mutiny Studios
**Friday, 9/23 Connecticut Yankee 100 Connecticut Street San Francisco, CA 94107
**Sunday, 9/25 Aubergine 755 Petaluma Avenue Sebastopol, CA 95472