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New Riders of the Purple Sage - Where I Come From
CD Review by Jud Conway on 5/27/2009   

The New Riders of the Purple Sage formed in 1969 as a vehicle for Jerry Garcia to play pedal steel guitar and John Dawson to promote his original songs. Almost forty years later, notwithstanding a twenty-five year hiatus, the legendary "psychedelic cowboy band" returns with Where I Come From, its first studio offering in twenty years.

The incarnation of NRPS that was signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis disbanded around 1980. In 2005, guitarist Michael Falzarano (Hot Tuna), bassist Ronnie Penque, and drummer Johnny Markowsi revived the band with original members David Nelson (guitar) and Buddy Cage (pedal steel). Well-received tours, along with a burgeoning co-writing relationship between David Nelson and famed Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, augmented by original contributions from new members Falzarano, Penque, and Markowski, laid the groundwork for Where I Come From. Recordings were conducted mostly live in the studio with as few takes as possible to preserve a spontaneous, organic feel. The band’s own Michael Falzarano helmed the producer’s chair for the proceedings.

Highlights from Where I Come From, an album rife with great songs, include the Hunter/Nelson tunes "Ghost Train Blues," "Down the Middle," and, in particular, "Barracuda Moon," the recording of which, according to Falzarano, was captured the first time the band ever played through the track. Falzarano’s own "Carl Perkins Wears the Crown" ranks among his best work to date. A cover of "Minglewood Blues" breathes new life into the much-interpreted classic. Penque’s "Olivia Rose" and Markowski’s "Higher" fit nicely into the mix.

Where I Come From not only represents a vibrant new chapter in the discography of The New Riders of the Purple Sage, it offers listeners a "cosmic American" classic for the modern era.

Q&A with Buddy Cage of the New Riders of the Purple Sage

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