It’s only recently that I became acquainted with the Denver-based (but Virginia- born) Casey James Prestwood and his band, The Burning Angels. Band member Jeremi Rebecca Hush emailed me saying that the band really wanted to come to Los Angeles to play and asked if I knew of any good venues. I remembered Jeremi from a former band she was in based in Salt Lake City, Band of Annuals.
Casey James Prestwood and The Burning Angels are a 5-piece outfit that has been described as “honest twang” with Prestwood’s voice and guitar playing “feeling more like country than a than a worn-in pair of cowboy boots.” Inspired by classic country and a pinch of Gram Parsons, the band got their name from former Nudie Suit designer, Manuel Cueva. Prestwood became friends with him in 2007 when Cueva was commissioned to make him a suit. Over time, the band came to know him and would stay at his house when traveling to Nashville. They even recorded their album, Honky Tonk Bastard World in his home.
Prestwood told Cueva about visitng Cap Rock where the famous theft and burning of Gram Parsons body took place in Joshua Tree, CA. When making suits for the band Cueva designed a cross with angel wings and stitched “Burning Angels” on the backs and the band had their name.
The band is comprised of Prestwood taking lead on vocals and guitar, Kevin Finn on drums and vocals, Jeff Martin on bass and vocals, John Macy on pedal steel, and Jeremi Rebecca Hush on vocals. Their upcoming album, Born Too Late is due out in March 2017 and the band is touring a few dates in CA in support of the record.
Where are you guys based?
How is the honky tonk scene there?
It seems to be growing, as of late. We’ve been playing a showcase thing called “Honky Tonk at the Hi-Dive” and doing all nighters at a place called The Star Bar. A few years ago, our shows weren’t very well attended at either of those joints. Both seem to be hopping now, and a lot of Denver Bands are starting to lean towards old country.
How did you all get together as a group and how long have you been playing together?
I played in a band called Hot Rod Circuit growing up. We started that band in Alabama. Back then I was surrounded by country music, but didn’t quite get it then. I started playing pedal steel in Hot Rod Circuit and Drag The River.
I really fell in love with the steel guitar and it turns out, you have to listen to country, if really want to hear it. I fell in love with it hard…and haven’t looked back. It’s been 10 years for the band for me. Lots of different folks have come and gone over the years. The drummer and Bass player (Kevin and Jeff) have been playing with me for years. Jeremi and I have been singing together since the early days too.
Well the obvious answer would be Gram, Buck, Merle, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Lefty. Maybe less obvious – Doug Sahm, T-Rex.
Do you all know how to two-step?
I think my mom really wanted a girl. She put me in cotillion when I was in 5th grade or so. But I don’t dance at our shows…just with my wife at weddings usually. I would say most of the Burning Angels do dance pretty well.
Especially when drunk.
Do you do a lot of touring?
Not as much as when I was a kid. I am getting really excited about this band. But we’ve been hitting it pretty good this year. We went to Europe in January and focus mostly on Texas and Tennessee when we hit the road.
Favorite road food?
You guys take some mighty fine and fashionable pictures, do you dress up for the stage?
Yes. Most of the time, we wear custom suits.
What’s your favorite part of playing live?
Connecting with my band, and sharing that with the audience and our fans.
I like to sing, work hard and put on a show.
How many records have you recorded?
Five. Our Newest album Born Too Late officially comes out March 4th 2017. My first solo record came out in 2007. It was made in 2006. Then with the Angels, there were two other “official records” that are out of print after The Hurtin Kind. Falling Apart At The Seams and The Jukebox is Busted volume 1. Currently the bulk of those three albums are available on a compilation record called Best of The Early Years. We released Honky Tonk Bastard World in 2013.
Are you looking forward to your Southern California Shows?
Can’t wait. Got some new Burning Angels I can’t wait to show off, we have partially a new line up. It’s been too long since I’ve been out that way. Really pumped to be playing Pappy’s again!
What’s next for you all?
I think we are going to hit the road quite a bit in 2017. I’m really excited for people to see us live and to hear the material from our new record.
Come see us!
Casey James Prestwood and The Burning Angels are on the West Coast starting Friday, December 9th.
-Friday, December 9th, 2016 The Plough and Stars
Honky Tonk showdown w/ Trevor McSpadden – 8:00 PM
116 Clement Street San Francisco, CA 94118
– Saturday, December 10th, 2016 The Escondite
(The Hideout) Rt N The 44’s w/ Casey James Prestwood – 8:00 PM
410 Boyd Street Los Angeles, CA 90013 Price: FREE
-Sunday, December 11th, 2016 Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
Leslie and the Badgers w/ Casey James Prestwood – 7:00 PM
53688 Pioneertown Road Pioneertown, CA 92268 Price: FREE
– Monday, December 12th, 2016 Make-Out Room
Actual Wolf w/ Casey James Prestwood – 6:00 PM
3225 22nd Street San Francisco, CA 94110 Price: $8.00