From the foot of Mount Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco and east of the Pacific shore, to East Nashville’s stubbornly independent community of young artists and musicians, singer-songwriter Don Gallardo’s path has always steered clear of the mainstream.
Traces of his journey illuminate his newest album Still Here, which is out April 27, 2018 on Rock Ridge Music. Beginning with its title, the album carries an assertion that Gallardo has learned from life and expressed its lessons in songs. To longtime listeners, this is hardly news. But Still Here represents something new for Gallardo, a corner turned and a step taken upward toward a new level of creativity.
The times have caught up with Gallardo, whose love for musical tradition and willingness to melt genre barriers anticipated the Americana boom by at least a decade. With Mando Saenz, Robby Hecht, Tim Easton, and other gifted collaborators, Gallardo emerged with a passel of new songs he was eager to record. Beginning with bare-bones demos of voice and acoustic guitar, he recruited a team of musicians who knew how to tap into the spirit of each composition, including Old Crow Medicine Show mandolinist/steel player Joe Andrews, keyboardist Micah Hulscher from Margo Price’s band and Dave Roe, who played with Johnny Cash for 12 years and played on Sturgill Simpson and Dan Auerbach’s last albums.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “The Losing Kind”, a standout track on Still Here. The song is a melancholy ballad with a twangy honky tonk sound. Gallardo’s vocals carry a lonesome sadness that is easy to imagine piping out of the speakers in a beer-soaked dive somewhere in Texas. At the same time, Gallardo’s songwriting and vocals exude a certain vulnerability that brings to mind the likes of Whiskeytown and the more alt-country leanings of Wilco.
Listen to the song and read our quick chat with Gallardo below…
What was the inspiration for this song? What prompted you to write it?
Well, I was thinking about what I was going through at the time as a musician. Living month-to-month and raising a child, touring relentlessly in the US and UK, and wondering how long I can do what I’m doing. I’m sure at some point every musician has this feeling of questioning one’s ability to keep going. The problem is that this is what I do, and I feel really good about music, and it’s what I’ve done for 20 years. It’s more of a wake-up call to myself to not fall into that downward spiral and keep being positive and keep pushing and working as hard as I can.
I’m sure you had an idea about what you wanted this song to be before you recorded it. How is the album version the same or different from your original idea of it?
Honestly, the song is exactly what I imagined. There is nothing I would do differently to it. I wanted an old-school George Jones vibe and structured song.
You co-wrote this with Doug Williams. How was that writing session?
Ive been friends with Doug and Telisha from Wild Ponies for years and finally got together to write with Doug. It was really cool. I had the idea of the song and had some of it written. So, when I showed Doug what I had, we just zipped right through it. Wild Ponies are in the same boat as I am — just pushing onward.
What do you hope listeners take away from hearing this song?
I hope if someone is feeling down, I want them to know that others are feeling it, too. You have friends everywhere who will help you. Support teams are in place all over. It’s a pretty sad song, but the song is kind of meant for people who are feeling down — to really take initiative in life and find help and reach out to your friends.
Still Here is out April 27, 2018 on Rock Ridge Music. For more music and info visit dongallardo.com.
Photo credit: Kyler Clark