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Project Feijoa | The California Tapes

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Folk: Folk Pop Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The California Tapes

by Project Feijoa

Spanish American Kiwi folk rock n roll
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lay Me Down, San Joaquin
4:10 $0.99
2. La Vaquilla
4:58 $0.99
3. Jesusita
3:44 $0.99
4. Painted Princess
5:52 $0.99
5. Las Canoas
3:41 $0.99
6. Saint Dolores
3:22 $0.99
7. San Fernando
4:10 $0.99
8. Refugee
4:54 $0.99
9. Santa Maria
4:42 $0.99
10. Anna's Dream
5:12 $0.99
11. Where You Can't See the Border
6:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Project Feijoa is a Spanish-American influenced rock n roll pop band based in Wellington, New Zealand, featuring Emily Roughton on viola, piano and fiddle, Bob McNeill on guitars, vocals and programming, and Rob Henderson on bass.

It all started because Bob had some songs, some guitars and a cool place to rehearse. Bob can also cook, and has a certificate from Glasgow College of Food Technology to prove it. This is a man who knows which fork to use, if not which scale. Since the others were starving, and had no other offers, they agreed to join.

Emily .. well, she was a girl and as a bonus, she could also play; she was actually musical. This often doesn't matter, but crucially, she played the piano and the violin, both of which look excellent in promo shots, even if your photographer turns out to be a hack. You can't muck up a shiny black piano with a girl sitting in front of it. Also, Emily has an amazing collection of dresses and shoes and like Princess Diana, she hasn't yet worn the same combination twice.

Then there's Rob, who has three piece suits and a double bass. All musicians know that a suit and a double bass increases the fee you can charge, because it all means people will take you seriously; they think you're a jazz group, and therefore might know what you're doing. When you turn up, in suits, and you've got a girl in a dress, and a double bass, and then don't actually play jazz, they're grateful, sometimes enough to book you again. When the others found out that Rob had a yellow Fender PB from the 70s, and secretly played John Mayer riffs on it, the others finally began to respect him, and now look on him as an inspiration. He the man.

The California Tapes started with a trip Bob made to the sunshine state in 2009. He arrived in Santa Barbara to stay with friends, three months after the Jesusita fire had destroyed many of their neighbours' houses in Mission Canyon. The aftermath of the fire was a stirring sight and stayed with him as he traveled north, giving up three songs on the album, including Jesusita, one of his most-requested songs at shows. A friend he visited in San Francisco turned out to be heading overseas for an extended period, leaving his apartment, which happened to be in the Mission, empty. So he stayed there. This is the best way to visit friends; when they're away.

He wandered around SF in the baking sun and freezing fog, writing in the evenings, for weeks, then put the book away and went off exploring. San Francisco is a fascinating place; and like most fascinating places, it's best experienced whilst not in the company of someone who actually lives there. Due to an incident involving a suitcase and a sub-par intellect, he didn't see the book again until 2016. Having been able to only remember three of the songs he'd written, he played those, and forgot about the rest. They would have come back words-only if it hadn't been for a vintage mp3 recorder thing that he'd sung some of the tunes into back in '09. Raise your hat to iRiver - remember them, back when nobody had a smartphone?

The California Tapes is about the Jesusita fire, the fires that came before it, the lives they touched, and some of the other stories that spring out at you in California; the Californios, the settlers, the 49ers, Loma Prieta, the border, and ordinary people on the road.

McNeill's songs visit people who've seen things, up close. In The California Tapes, we hear their stories firsthand, sometimes not long after the event, sometimes years later. There's the shellshocked divorcee escaping a fire in Jesusita; the washed-up musician playing bars in the Valley in San Fernando; the street dweller whose world literally collapses around him in Saint Dolores; and the disillusioned immigrant crossing back over in the bittersweet Where you can't see the border.

The California Tapes includes McNeill's "fire trilogy"; Jesusita tells one's man's story of the fire, as he runs for his life, while the last reminders of an old love are burned over; in Painted Princess, he finds something worth living for in a figure from the Chumash past; in Las Canoas he hears the story of an older fire, from California's gold mining past, and sees his story as part of the cycle of love, loss and renewal.



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