Cal Upstart Kareeta’s Roots Run Sahm & Skynyrd On Eponymous Debut LP

The alt-country scene has a new band busting into the genre. Kareeta’s roots run deep into the red clay of the south and their music rises up like early morning mists hanging over a delta swamp, serene in moments but portending blackwater depth. And that music can strike with the power of a cottonmouth through slicing guitar riffs and swirling organ fills. These are not songs that lend themselves to interpretation as much as they are well-told stories that leave little hiding under the surface, they instead lay everything out for the listener with the intended message right there in our ears. Straightforward. No screwing around. If pressed to describe them, it is safe to say you might pick out some Mike Cooley Drive-by Truckers influences, heavier riffed  Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit sounds, smacks of classic-era Skynyrd and a dash of some Doug Sahm Marin County psychedelic madness. 

As the story goes (and every band has a good story), the band left their southern homes and moved to California in the Spring of 2020 just in time for Covid lockdown. They barricaded themselves in a house and made up some rough demos, sent them out, and heard back from Greg Loiacono of The Mother Hips (a connoisseur of rootsy country jams himself). When Greg heard the songs, he was struck and invited the band to record and Loiacono produced.

“I had a great time making this record,” says Loiacono. “The band was super tight and easy to work with. Chuck [Harris] has a way of really painting a picture with his storytelling. The lyrics and the powerhouse rhythm section are what engaged me right away. Getting to produce this record has been such a pleasure.”

The partnership has gelled and the band’s eponymous debut due out Friday December 17th is the result. This is a fantastic group of songs – songs that you want to hear in a dimly lit bar through jukebox speakers but let’s not consider these guys as retro. Beginning their rise,  Kareeta may well prove a force in the NorCal scene as they build an audience and begin spreading their wings. The fact that they were joined on this record by Loiacono himself as well as Mother Hips compadre Danny Eisenberg and Circles Around The Sun keyboard alchemist Adam MacDougall in addition to Steve Barnes and Moana Avvenenti speaks volumes. 

The nine-track LP, will be a welcome addition to anyone that loves some psychedelic country, so do them a favor and go buy their music (and stream it too). This record might boast some of the strongest album art to be seen on a record cover in the past decade too, by the way. Kareeta will be opening for The Mother Hips on Saturday, December 18th at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco at the Hips’ annual Christmas shows this coming weekend if you want to hear what they can do live. You can find and order their album at the band’s Bandcamp page as well as their homepage

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