Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men: Dave Alvin (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, national steel bodied guitar); Rick Shea (electric, pedal & steel guitars, mandolin, background vocals); Brantley Kearns (fiddle, background vocals); Chris Gaffney (accordion, background vocals); Joe Terry (keyboards, background vocals); Bobby Lloyd Hicks (drums, background vocals).
Recorded live at The Blue Cafe in Long Beach, California in August, 2001 and at The Neighborhood Church in Pasadena, California in January, 2002.
Though fans of Dave Alvin's finely honed Americana songcraft may lament the fact that OUT IN CALIFORNIA is his second live album and third of non-new material since 1998's acclaimed BLACKJACK DAVID, anyone enamored enough of the former Blasters auteur's work should nevertheless find plenty to enjoy here. Playing close to home, Alvin is supported by six old pals who inject a variety of rootsy textures (accordion, pedal steel, fiddle, etc.) and a surfeit of energy into his character studies of the American working class.
A medley of "Little Honey" (recorded by X while Alvin was briefly a member) and Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" turns into a nine-minute jamfest that shows just how far these Guilty Men can take things. However, the succinct sonic novellas "Andersonville" and "Wanda and Duane" stand in testament to the fact that it's the songs themselves that are the key to Alvin's vision. A turbo-charged romp through the Blasters anthem "American Music" and a jokey acquiescenct to the ubiquitous "Freebird" request end things on a light-hearted note.
Q (9/02, p.200) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Wonderful..."
Uncut (9/02, p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Alvin in his favorite setting...nobody can throttle a guitar neck quite the same..."Little Honey" is a 10-minute flash flood of peerless musical history."
CMJ (6/24/02, p.10) - "...The band is so tight it would sound like a studio album without the whoops, claps, funny banter and electric energy. The playing is done with style, class, restraint, emotion and a synergy that comes from veteran players communicating musically..."