Midnight North rocks the Dead for a new generation


midnight_north_at_table.jpgMidnight North
is the creation of Grahame Lesh, son of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh that updates and continues the Grateful Dead sound for a new generation.  With the addition of Elliot Peck as songwriter/singer, Midnight North moves beyond the Grateful Dead sound with a female vocalist additing a new color and vibrancy to the sound while keeping the acid country rock rhythms of of the Dead alive and grooving.  Based at Phil Lesh's venue , Terrapin Crossroads in the northern California country seat of San Rafael California, Midnight North is ready to go national. 

Terrapin Crossing is where I first encountered Midnight North.  I was in San Rafael, where I used to live, visiting friends and relatives and had a night free so a bunch of us went to Terrapin Crossing for a drink.  And there was Midnight North, rockin' the house and having fun.  Brought back memories of the Bay Area in the 60's but was totally up to date.  Who are these people I thought? I found out when I talked to the band during a break and signed them for an interview on the spot. They are so good I put them on repeat in my playlist.

There is history here. Grahame Lesh has been woodshedding with the great American songbook over the last few years, performing with dad's band Phil Lesh & Friends at festivals across the country. Midnight North has  subsequently become the house band at Terrapin Crossroads, a great gig and a great launch platform.  Grahame has taken advantage of the platform to launch the band with the debut album we will play and talk about this Friday.  Grahame was joined in the songwriting by Elliott Peck of Umphrey's McGree and formed Midnight North and started on the path of a long line of successfully crafted California country-rock music bands, but with an original twist. The addition of Connor Jon O'Sullivan's on the very propulsive bass and Eric Saar on the drums filled out the band and they were ready to move beyond Phil Lesh's shadow into their own spotlight.

Midnight North's debut album, End of the Night, sonically picks up where Ryan Adams & the Cardinals and others left off, heartfelt rock & folk songs decked out in country rock, with tight vocal harmonies and a steady beat. Produced by Connor and Grahame and recorded amidst the redwood groves at In The Pocket Studios in Forestville, CA, End of the Night peaks with a soaring slow burner that no great rock album would be complete without - Peck's "All Remains the Same." Worth a listen: the crisp guitars and memorable melody of opener “Falling,” and stay for the band strutting through “Miss M", the gorgeous playing and singing on “Hold Me Down” and of course, the closing title track. Grahame put it best when he said, “We’ve got a little bit of country in us, but it’s just rock n’ roll.”

He's right - is just rock and roll -- the best of rock and roll.

 

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