If you are ever looking for a way to escape the world around you and be transported to the ‘50s for a good ol’ handjive or to witness the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, just sit back. Relax. Turn on the Cadillac Angels.
The all-American band that started up in Santa Barbra in the ‘90s, led by singer/songwriter and guitarist Tony Balbinot, can be widely noted for the array of tunes they produce.
It’s not every day that a listener can find a variation of sounds for each avenue of life on one album, but somehow the Angels can successfully do so in their newest compilation of original songs.
As the years have continued on there have been many musicians to come and go in the group while bandleader Balbinot has remained a constant. After successfully creating 10 albums over the past two decades, Balbinot still has enough creative flow left to put out yet another one-of-a-kind album.
Grabbing inspiration from icons like Johnny Horton and Jimmy Reed makes Cadillac Angels the needle in the haystack of bands that keep true to what rock is, while still adding an original spin.
The only reason someone would turn down the volume on a Balbinot original is if he or she is not in the mood to move their feet.
If there were to be another remake of Footloose, the song that would cause the townspeople to put on their dancing shoes despite the outlaw of dance would be “Hillbilly Girl” by Cadillac Angels. With a strong guitar solo less than a minute into this feel-good tune, it is nearly impossible to stop tapping your foot along to the beat before losing control to a full-on reenactment of Kevin Bacon’s notorious solo.
To balance out the jittery feels that come with songs like “Hillbilly Girl,” the band incorporates a handful of bluesy instrumental tracks and slowed-down melodies to keep people in the groove without overkilling the excitement.
“Harmony Grits” is a modern mash up of instrumentals somewhere between the Beach Boys “Surfin’ USA” and the Austin Powers theme song. Talk about a spunky surprise thrown into the mix that catches listeners off guard at first but keeps one wanting to hear more.
Cadillac Angels know how to give a wide range of listeners a little taste of something they’ll want to come back for more of.
All you need to be taken away from the chaos of current surroundings is to close your eyes and soak in the southing acoustics of “Maybe.”
Balbinot sets a new scene to a laid back rhythm, singing the words, “I’d like to say I love you, I’d like to tell you I care/Maybe I’m just feelin’ lonely so maybe that wouldn’t be fair.”
Out of the entire album this song stands out on its own. While sticking to the theme of authenticity that is carried out through the playlist, “Maybe” is something special. It has the power to make listeners reminisce over those simple slow dances at high school prom. The sentiments of the lyrics are complemented by acoustics of the guitar as Balbinot’s words speak volumes.
He paints an oh-so-familiar picture in continuing to sing, “I’d like to know you completely, stay with you all through the night/Maybe I’m just feelin’ lonely so maybe that wouldn’t be right.” He tells a story that is relatable to anyone who has been torn by the desire to reach out to someone who still holds a piece of his or her heart.
While some musicians mainly thrive when their music is being blasted in front of mass audiences at a massive amphitheater, the Cadillac Angels have the ability to get people moving in many atmospheres. The classic rock ‘n’ roll mixes get me dancing and head bopping while driving in my car, walking to the market and even doing my dishes.
Cadillac Angles will be performing their new songs this Friday, Sept. 29, at Monte Vista Lounge, 100 N. San Francisco St., beginning at 9:30 p.m.