Recorded in a remote cabin studio set in the San Isabel National Forest in Buena Vista, Colorado, San Isabel, the third full-length record from Austin-based duo Jamestown Revival has them taking full advantage of the buzz that is being created with the upcoming music documentary Echo in the Canyon set to be released in September. The documentary, much like the band itself, evokes the essence of the Laurel Canyon artist enclave just North of L.A.’s Sunset Strip along with the spirit of Crosby Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and many others.
Taking a distinct 1970s approach to their music, the effortless harmonic partnership between Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance brings to mind Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers with a clear and immediate essence of the Mamas and the Papas wafting in the air over everything. And so, it makes perfect serendipitous sense that a cover version of “California Dreamin’” would be the centerpiece of this album.
The song itself was released in 1965 and was included on the Mamas and the Papas debut record If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. A sterling example of an almost perfectly crafted pop song coming in at No. 89 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. While with the original there seems to be a post-haste urgency to jump on the next plane out of Dodge to get back to sunny California, with their version, the Jamestown boys are taking things a bit more low and slow and seem to be meandering their way back to the West Coast with several stops along the way. The mid-song flute solo inherent in the original is gone, but not missed in this sublime version.