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Salt Petal Revisted – After all these (3) Years

February 20, 2015

Salt Petal

Salt Petal

PARIS – One of the satisfying – and essential – aspects of doing this mostly music blog is being able to talk about bands I have discovered, and sometimes having people present me with their music, or the music of bands they are representing, thinking that this blog would be a nice place to have it talked about. A few days ago, I received an email from a PR person involved in talking about a hot new Los Angeles band. Within a few seconds I had bells going off in my head, and I realized that this was a band that I had already heard, met and written about in the context of open mics in Paris: Salt Petal.

What a joy it was to see that this band that had so impressed me back in 2012 at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance (in its heyday) and when Salt Petal played at the Highlander, had continued to progress, to grow, and to turn into a band that is being hailed by publications across the U.S. – including Billboard, apparently – and is being played on MTV and has won a prize from an international panel of judges in the World Music Battle of the Bands.

The salty memories came back, I checked out my own blog, and found that I had been thoroughly impressed by the freshness and excitement of the two band members who came to Paris in 2012 – Autumn and Rodrigo – and had so enraptured the Ptit Bonheur and the Highlander. And so I checked out the video of the song that won that World Music prize, “Por la Luna.”

I compared it with the videos I had taken at the time, and said, yes, that’s the same two. Now it has turned into a collective with several musicians – and not just the two who were in Paris – and they have added different nationalities, expanding from American and Argentine to Japanese and others, and making a true collective of world music.

The PR reads well too: “Los Angeles is a city of diversity, a place of mixed cultures with a colorful tradition. Few bands better represent this than LA musical collective Salt Petal whose cross border musical influences of Argentinian folk, Brazilian tropicalia, Cumbia and up tempo indie rock blurs ethnic and musical boundaries. The band’s sound is one of the freshest to come out of Los Angeles, showcasing deep South American rhythms with vibrant indie pop harmonies and textures.

“Salt Petal has played high profile venues and festivals such as SXSW, Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books and Make Music Pasadena. Performing alongside well-known artists including Lila Downs, Grimes, Hello Seahorse!, La Santa Cecilia, Dengue Fever, Las Cafeteras, members of Blondie and Jane’s Addiction. Their videos have been featured on MTV Tr3s and have been written up in Billboard etc.”

But ultimately, as I write these words, I listen to all of the tracks on Salt Petal’s SoundCloud, and it is beautiful stuff, combining the South American – Argentine and Brazilian – rhythms with a very clear American Indie sound, thanks in no small part to Autumn Harrison’s vocals.

They’re even calling it “Tropical Surf Rock.” What do I know? It’s very strange, but I actually find a tiny, tiny little touch of a sound that is similar to the American singer April March, who is known more in France than elsewhere (I think) for her modern version of French Yé Yé music. Is that what this is? An American interpretation of Tropicalia and other South American sounds? Updated? Give it a listen to see. May they pass through Paris again.

Quick Highlander Round-up

May 31, 2012

Time waits for no one, and things are stacking up, and today was tax day in France. So just a few words and some videos to mark my territory on a great night at the Highlander open mic last night!!! Anyway, super long posts get monotonous, no doubt….

I got to the Highlander late-ish but got to play at a reasonable time. I met up there with some old friends and new, like Salt Petal from the night before – and they were even better at the Highlander than at the Ptit Bonheur. And my bonheur was that after I played “Year of the Cat” as an opener, someone from the audience asked if I knew anything by the Righteous Brothers, so I jumped right into “Unchained Melody” instead of Cat’s in the Cradle. I finished with Borderline, just to show it to Salt Petal.

That should probably be about it. Check out the to see that it was a good night at one of Paris’s best open mics.

Ptit Bonheur Provides Again

May 30, 2012

I would estimate that 98 percent of the time I go to the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic in Paris near the Pantheon on the rue Laplace on Tuesday nights I end up having a great evening of music and socializing. It happened again last night. The evening started slowly with not that many people there when I arrived at around 9:30. I was afraid I would be too late for the list, to perform, but I was lucky and signed up. Then the place began to fill up with musicians and spectators, and the musical aspect of the evening was great – with a respectful audience that listened and sang along (not to mine) – and then afterwards there was a long period of socializing in the bar, meeting new and interesting people – a great time.

One of the big differences at this open mic is that it is a place where people go into the small cellar to listen to the musicians, and they stay up in the bar to talk. The musicians tend to be very good, young and original, and the audience tends to be about the same. I go so often that I was not sure what to sing, but decided to do “I Won’t Back Down” and my new one, “Crazy Lady.” I did not think of these as crowd pleasers, but I did think of them as songs I wanted to sing. That seemed to please the crowd, which pleased me even more.

I was then even more delighted to meet afterwards someone from a band from California who approached me and said they found the open mic thanks to this blog and its list of open mics and jams in Paris. This was Autumn Harrison of the band Salt Petal. Autumn, who plays accordion and sings, later gave me their CD, and it is quite good – with my favorite song being the very sort of retro-pop song called “Travel Far.” That one sounds almost like something written by Buddy Holly.

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