“For Real,” by Waldo Grade, extends the great tradition of California-based electrified folk into the present century. Which proves that you can’t keep a good genre down as long as there are talented musicians carrying the banner.
“For Real” is a slow-cooker, opening with a gentle acoustic guitar, then sequentially adding low-pitched electric guitars, bass and drums, voice, and organ to finally create a full-bodied anthem. The basic riff is simple but becomes an effective organ hook. The track has a Tom Petty Meets Neil Young feel, with Tom on vocal and Neil on guitar. As a Certified Music Journalist, I’m obligated to throw in at least one Obscure Reference. So I’ll say that the droning low D brought to mind David Crosby’s “Laughing” from If I Could Only Remember My Name. I think the E-string has been dropped down a step, but I’m probably wrong.
“For Real” is from the new eight-song album, Eureka. Waldo Grade is San Francisco musician and songwriter Braden Towne, who provided all vocals and instruments except drums (by Bob Nick). On the Waldo Grade Facebook page, we learn that Braden is “pioneering the farm-to-speakers movement with locally sourced artisanal songs.” And for those of you keeping score at home, Waldo Grade is a highway grade between the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin City.
ALTERNATIVE SONG OF THE DAY: It was difficult to choose between “For Real” and the more poppish “Please, Obsolete.” The track has a definite Grateful Dead-like quality, but with a singer who actually practiced before opening the mic. I settled on “For Real” because it seemed more adventuresome. But I’ll throw “Please, Obsolete” out here and let the reader decide.
You can support deserving independent musicians like Waldo Grade (Braden Towne) by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to his music, and downloading your favorite tracks. I’m sure no one would mind if you bought the entire album. And be sure to follow Waldo Grade on Facebook and Twitter. Act now, and you can be Waldo Grade’s second Twitter follower!