Joe Bourdet Radiates 70s California Country and Folk on ‘Meadow Rock’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Joe Bourdet is a singer-songwriter from California. While his sound is definitely influenced by Laurel Canyon, his geographic whereabouts are less important than the fact that he sounds like he’s from another time. 

His debut album Meadow Rock can best be described as an anachronism. It is a new album that sounds like it was made more than 40 years ago. AM radio might now belong to talking heads, but once upon a time, this album would have been a staple on AM radio.

From the beginning of the album, you can’t help but notice the similarity to Jackson Browne. The opening track resides at the intersection of Americana and soul. There is some definite 70s California country with the pedal steel while the organ brings some soul to the song. It definitely feels like this song could have been an AM radio hit in the past.

You can also hear a similarity to Jim Croce in these songs. A lot of the similarity is in the vocals. Like Croce, Bourdet’s vocals are in the higher registers. You can also hear the similarity in the guitar picking and the harmony vocals in the tradition of bands like The Byrds.  

“Seamist” is true AM Gold. This one is a downtempo song that goes heavy on the steel guitar. The notes in this song are so muted and prolonged that the song seems to take on a bit of an exotica feel. Overall, this one is at the intersection of Americana, soul, and exotica. 

“Lost Along the Way” is a song that would fit perfectly in an open mic at a coffeeshop. The melody is mellow and layered. On first listen, you may not realize how much is going on in this song. However, if you really listen, you hear the lonesome desert sound of the guitar, the soulful component of the organ, and the harmony vocals that bring America to mind.

Meadow Rock by Joe Bourdet is a definite nod to the past. Between the melodies and the way the album was recorded, this sounds like an album that was recorded in the 70s. It definitely seems like an album that you should hear on vinyl on a good sound system so you can hear and feel the warmth of these melodies. 

Photo credit: Sara Ross Samko

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