Some events in life make an impression on us that’s hard to forget. For Songwriter Hall of Famer Jeffrey Steele, it was the memories of his time spent in a house band at the Palomino Club that always stuck with him.
The L.A. dive that had seen the likes of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings on its stage was where Steele played bass for most of the 80’s. It’s also what inspired him to create an album that, in his own words, is “too country for country music.”
The result is Sons of the Palomino— a boot stomping, hat tipping tribute to the old days of rhinestone suits (which Steele wears when they perform) and swinging dance floors. It’s banner song, “Authentic”, perfectly surmises what the band is shooting for, while the rollicking “Countryholic” acts as a kind of theme song.
Steele has written hits for Tim McGraw and many of today’s hit makers, so his decision to record tracks that are virtually unrecognizable to what gets played on the radio left many in Nashville bewildered. He said was more concerned about recreating the genuine sound that used to echo through his old haunt.
Steele put together an all-star, ten-piece group whose efforts attracted interest from other artists— Jamey Johnson, Vince Gill, and John Rich (among others) all make an appearance on the album. Emmylou Harris, who had actually played at the Palomino Club, also lends her graceful vocals to the downhearted “Out of This Town.”
Other tracks put their talent on full display. “Hole in the Wall” is a sunny ode to the dives we love most and “Lie” uses the time-honored tradition of country wordplay to craft a tender tune as soft as the fresh sheets they sing about.
The album feels like someone dusted off some old forgotten record and breathed new life into it. If you’re looking for new music but need a break from drum loops and cookie cutter lyrics, this is the album to check out.