Review: Paladino “Paladino”


By Gerry Gomez

“Lonely Mountain” kicks off the debut self-titled offering by Los Angeles based, Paladino or rather, more appropriately rattles the dust off it.  The up-tempo bar-room style country rock is a Love meets Knitters meets Tito LaRiva with a Lou Reed tinge that comes out sounding like something in a Mexican desert bar that paints a real earthy, hyped up borracho ballad, somewhat adjacent to a Spaghetti Western with a lot of tequila thrown in. The tale of the protagonist, as he travels the desolate countryside, gives one the feel they’ve swallowed the worm and are traveling side-saddle along with lead singer Jonathan Harkham,  setting the stage the duration of the journey.

As if the title track’s description wasn’t enough to stoke the fire for picking up this entertaining album, the rest of the tracks on Paladino are fueled with plenty of cow-punk, psychedelic, folk and alt county and Harkan, along with Chris Isom (guitar), Adrienne Isom (guitar), Annie Rothschild (bass guitar), and Jon Rygiewicz (drums) have successfully created their own unique sound.

Harkham’s vocals are at times reminiscent of Jim Morrison’s, more so than just tenor, but also in the swagger style of his delivery and attitude.  That irreverent attitude is fully present in the song “Ode To Misery,” in which the bridge between the first and second verse’s consists of a melodic mumble used to a charismatic effect. The song shines a s all that represents them: captivating, up-beat, two-step country, set against ironic lyrical tales.

Paladino gives  a few interpretations to the covers, “Green Green Grass of Home” and “Have You Ever Been Lonely.” Both fit right in, as they are done in the Paladino style.  Overall, they offer an album that would be great to while saddlin’ up to the nearest western bar after a long day riding chaparral. And though the night may get smoky and sky painted with a beautiful sunset , or a fight might break out, either way, Paladino has it covered.

But like a beat poet or Morrison, Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson – the thing that Paldino does best is narrate the sense of place they roam. Where Morrison was the lizard king, Harkham strikes one as a wounded, starving coyote wandering the rural outskirts of this decaying urban sprawl. Over time, if the music catches up to the lyrical sentiment, Paladino will find a special place among their contemporaries. Paladino have a lot of upcoming local date s in LA. We recommend you catch them.

Upcoming Dates

11/15 Villains Tavern, LA CA (Record Release)

11/25 Villains Tavern

12/18 Hotel Cafe, Hollywood CA





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