Dustbowl Revival: Carry Me Home


Carry Me Home
Dustbowl Revival

Expanding steadily from a string band fronted by lead singer and songwriter/arranger Zach Lupetin that began by playing up and down the West Coast a few years ago, the aptly-named, Los Angeles-based Dustbowl Revival  is currently a traveling collective of nearly a dozen folks. Dustbowl Revival’s instrumentation includes acoustic and pedal steel guitar, tuba, autoharp, Wurlitzer, mandolin, fiddle, piano, saxophones, clarinet, drums, an upright bass carved out of a canoe oar and lots of washboard, tambourine and kazoo along with plenty of nearly off-the-rails shouting and buzz-saw crazed hollering on Lupetin and his compatriots’ part. Springing out of old-school inspirations like Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Seven units, Fats Waller’s infectious barrelhouse-lively vibe, Bessie Smith’s bawdy backroom blues and the vigor and verve associated with New Orleans’ brass bands — not to mention Bob Dylan and the Old Crow Medicine Show – the Revival surface with a spontaneous-sounding, high-spirited mash-up of vintage bluegrass, gospel (check out deft re-imaginings of both the horns-buttressed “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and the biblical wailer “John The Revelator”), jug band, swamp pop (love the Fats Domino-tinged “Josephine”), flapper- era hot swing (with Caitlin Doyle taking the sultry vocal on the epic Lupetin original “Riverboat Queen”), Delta blues, Dixieland jazz – they even mix in some “outlaw country” with a loping portrait a “Hard River Gal” and shades of the Bonzo Dog Band on the marvelously off-kilter love song  “Barnacles.” The Dustbowl Revival is a musical time machine that, I would hazard a guess, plays plenty of encores.

Gary von Tersch

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