Album: From Liberty Street
Label: Yep Roc / Bertus Musikvertrieb GmbH
“This record is about as close to the sound of home as you can get,” says Mapache’s Sam Blasucci. “We recorded it with a bunch of our friends in the house where we were living in a neighborhood that we loved. It’s a family vibe through and through.” It made perfect sense, then, for Mapache to name their new album in honor of the place at the heart of it all: Liberty Street.
Produced by longtime collaborator Dan Horne (Circles Around The Sun, Allah-Las), From Liberty Street captures Mapache at their finest, weaving airtight harmonies around stripped-down, organic arrangements that blur the lines between traditional folk and modern cosmic country. The songs here draw on everything from Mexican boleros and Hawaiian-steeped surf to Bakersfield twang and lonesome cowboy campfire tunes, and Blasucci and his musical partner, Clay Finch, deliver them with the kind of easygoing charm and natural intuition usually reserved for blood brothers or married couples. It’s an instantly engaging chemistry they share, a captivating musical bond that mirrors the comfort, closeness, and camaraderie of the album’s homespun roots.
“When we lived in that house on Liberty Street, Sam and I shared a tiny little room with two twin beds in it,” says Finch. “The studio was right downstairs, so we had the freedom to try all kinds of new ideas without any pressure or limitations. All the other folks who lived in the house were musicians, too, so it made for this communal atmosphere where everyone was always collaborating and creating together.” The freedom of living where they recorded meant that Mapache could take their time experimenting with sounds and textures in the studio, a far cry from the way the LA duo captured their self-titled debut, which was cut live and raw around a single microphone.
Praised by Aquarium Drunkard as sounding like “a blazed up Everly Brothers” and given a six-star review by UK magazine Shindig, that record helped the band earn festival appearances from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Pickathon, where Rolling Stone named their set one of the weekend’s top highlights, as well as tour dates with Chris Robinson, Beachwood Sparks, and Mandolin Orange among others. The Boston Globe hailed the duo’s “intricate, intertwined acoustic guitar and close harmonies wedded to simple, plainspoken lyrics,” while No Depression fell for their “lilting melodies,” and Saving Country Music declared that the pair “can fill up a room with more soul soaring harmony than most symphonic assemblies.” The music also caught the attention of veteran indie label Yep Roc Records, which recently reissued the group’s debut album in advance of From Liberty Street’s arrival.
While much has changed for the men of Mapache since that first album—the pair’s amped up tour schedule and newly inked record deal enabled both to leave their day jobs recently—their friendship remains much as it did in high school, when the two Los Angeles natives first met and bonded over a shared love of skateboarding and songwriting. After graduation, Finch headed north to study music at Chico State, while Blasucci headed south to Mexico, where he served as a missionary for two years and immersed himself in the local art and culture. “Traditional Mexican music has always been an important influence on our sound,” says Blasucci, who sings multiple tracks on the album in Spanish with Finch. “With this record, we had more time than ever to dive into that world.”