"Blue City" and "On Mardi Gras Day" Feature Ry Cooder on Slide Guitar
GRAMMY-winning musician, vocalist, songwriter and producer Jorge Calderón has been a key figure in the Southern California music scene since he first came to Los Angeles in 1969. In addition to his well-known collaborations with Jackson Browne and the late Warren Zevon, Calderón has performed on scores of classic albums—contributing bass, guitar, and vocals-was a founding member of David Lindley's band El Rayo-X, and has toured the world with Ry Cooder, Leonard Cohen, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and J.D. Souther. With the forthcoming release of his two new songs "Blue City" and "On Mardi Gras Day," Calderón spotlights original solo material for the first time since his 1976 album City Music.
The pair of songs comes out September 6 on Inside Recordings, the independent label founded by Jackson Browne and his management team. They will be issued in a bundled release through the Inside Recordings online store, and released globally, distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) and ADA Global.
Browne urged Calderón to record "Blue City" and "On Mardi Gras Day" after seeing him play a coffeehouse gig in 2010. Each song offers a compelling take on a slice of urban America. "Blue City" is a gritty blues-grooved elegy about hard times, vanishing jobs, and plants shutting down. "On Mardi Gras Day," while inspired by the tragedy of Katrina, is upbeat with a Meters vibe, celebrating memories of the city, and rejoicing at the thought of returning for a future celebration. More songs will follow.
Calderón produced the tracks, sings, and plays bass and guitar. Both tunes feature Ry Cooder—with whom Calderón toured from 1984-1988, in a band that also included Jim Keltner, Van Dyke Parks, Flaco Jimenez, Jim Dickinson and Steve Douglas—on slide guitar, Luis Conte on percussion, and Don Heffington on drums. For "On Mardi Gras Day," John Thomas sits in on Hammond organ. Jackson Browne is executive producer.
Calderón and Browne first met in the mid-'70s through their mutual friend Warren Zevon. At the time, Calderón was touring and recording with Zevon, a collaboration that drew him away from pursuing a solo career. Calderón never stopped writing songs, though, and has been developing material with an eye toward a solo project since his final collaboration with Zevon, 2003's The Wind. Calderón produced and co-wrote the album, which received five 2004 GRAMMY nominations (including "Song of the Year" for "Keep Me In Your Heart") and two wins—"Best Contemporary Folk Album" and "Best Rock Vocal Performance, Duo or Group" for "Disorder In The House," Zevon's duet with Bruce Springsteen.
Calderón's musical and personal journey to the heart of Los Angeles-based music began more than 3,300 miles away in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He grew up on Latin music from Cuba and Puerto Rico, and calypso from other islands, but the rock 'n roll he heard through AM stations like WABC and WNBC that reached Puerto Rico was what formed his own musical identity. Calderón launched a band, and after great success at festivals on the islands, relocated to New York City, and then L.A. Shortly after the move to Southern California, the band broke up. Calderón stayed, connecting with the constellation of friendships and creative alliances that has produced—and continues to generate—so much remarkable music, including his new material on Inside Recordings.