Mike Bacarella – lead guitar & bass. Ryan Berkowsky – harmonica, Miles Denney – keyboards & percussion, Kevin McCourt – keyboards, Garrett Morris – drums, Leonard Wallace – congas, Chris Whelton – vocals, guitar, mandolin, dobro.
In 2012 local guitarists Chris Whelton and Mike Bacarella formed The Barstow Prophets. Whelton had played guitar and written successful songs for another local band and Bacarella had graduated from the Atlanta Institute of Music and was completing his bachelor’s degree at The University of Redlands. The two musicians immediately hit it off and discovered that they had a similar view of live music. “We didn’t want to perform snappy two minute pop songs. We wanted to build a band that could really play, a chance to really speak with your instrument, to take some chances, not get off the stage as fast as possible without making a mistake.” After recruiting conga player Leonard Wallace from The Rock church, and finding drummer Miles Denny at a winery gig, the band spent two years playing local bars and venues to get tight.
In November 2014 they decided to head into the studio. Whelton called his friend record producer David Newton in Burbank, former songwriter and guitarist for The Mighty Lemon Drops, who agreed to record the band’s debut cd. From the opening solo Telecaster on Little Ole You, through the last melodic notes of the Layla-esq instrumental Fillmore East, the Prophets have delivered the goods. Listen to this cd twice, and you may have a new favorite band. Whelton’s lyrics are as wry as ever (the devil wears a skirt…) and this is easily his best songwriting. Mike Bacarella is simply stellar on lead guitar. Although each track is completely original, the listener cannot help but note the obvious influences of J. Giles, Mellencamp, The Gin Blossoms, The Jackson 5, BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Rolling Stones, Derek & The Dominos and much more.
The fast paced material is a blend of rock, blues and country which is hard to pigeonhole, but easy to connect with. Dave Newton’s production is first rate, layering a wide variety of instruments (yes, we heard the sleigh bells) on each song, but at the same time maintaining a simple format that reveals the band’s edge and energy. Drummer Garrett Morris and Leonard Wallace create a lockstep groove, and session keys player Kevin McCourt chooses all the right notes again on his third project with Whelton. In the end however the Prophets are a guitar band, and Sister is a blues/rock guitar cd. Mike Bacarella’s solos on Locomotive and The Girlfriend Song are good, but he truly shines on “I Stopped Trying To Forget You”, an incredibly infectious shuffle, and he simply owns Fillmore. Whelton also lends lead guitar to the mix, ripping up Blue Plate Special a funky beat that congers up the Stevie Ray Vaughan episode of Austin City Limits. I predict however that fans will be most haunted by the stark opening track, Little Ole You which has a magnetic guitar riff straight out of The Stones epic Exile On Main Street.
Sister… as the band refers to the cd, is simply a solid collection of American rock songs. Songs you want to drink to, drive to, and dance to. It is rare that a new band comes forth with twelve confident tracks. “To be honest, we can’t help ourselves, it just comes pouring out. We’ll turn the amplifiers off before we ever play it safe.” Good for you boys. Life is too short for safe rock ‘n roll.
What else do you have?
The Barstow Prophets – Well, if I’d known she was your sister…… available at CDBaby.com
Distributed by NetJumps International
Company Name: The Barstow Prophets
Contact Person: Mimi Franco
Phone: 1 (760) 420 9959
Address:30033 Technology Drive
Country: United States