original Nordicana with a view
After more than ten years of exploring American musical heritage with Howe Gelb, first in his Howe Home project, then as a new incarnation of Giant Sand, Thøger, Peter and Anders took Howe's advise when he went to Canada to do a solo album, and went on to record some of their own material as well as an instrumental cover of Danish classic "Hvorfor er lykken så lunefuld". The self-released and long out of stock album was entitled “EliteContinentalCustomClub” and released in 2008.
"I thought of it as a fishing trip", Anders later said. "We had no idea what we were after or how to go about it really....kinda missing Howe in the mix, but still had to do something with our time and the songs that started piling up". Being out of his comfort zone, AP rose to the occasion, sang, got Thøger to sing as well (Peter refused) and the result was immediately exciting. With double lead vocals in octaves and responsive, playful musicianship to drive the songs forward, a unique sound appeared. Thus The DeSoto Caucus had found its voice. Shortly after the release of ECCC, the band was asked by Jens Folmer Jepsen, head of the Aarhus Festival to invite international artists & friends to come to town and do a series of shows that became known as The Medium Rare Sessions. Starting in 2007, the Sessions have featured the Caucus, often extenting to a seven piece, with Jakob Buchanan on fluegelhorn, Palle Hjorth on assorted all sorts keyboards, and Howe Gelb acting as pianoplayer and mc. Guests have been Kurt Wagner, Peter Sommer, Marie Frank, Isobel Campbell, Nive Nielsen, Sarah Blasko, Josh Rouse, Maria Timm, CV Jørgensen, Scout Niblett, John Doe, Agnes Obel, Mark Lanegan, Charlie Sexton, Jason Lytle, M. Ward, Emiliana Torrini, KT Tunstall, Brian Lopez, Jim White and Lawrence Arabia.
By 2012 the trio core of the band had turned into a quartet after Nikolaj Heyman joined, and upon release of their second album "Offramp Rodeo" they had signed with the acclaimed German label Glitterhouse. The impressions from the dusty trail of Sand had been transformed into a slightly melancholic singer-songwriter based indierock that became with brilliant and often complex grooves, cool guitarwork, and a timeless vintage soundscape inhabited by organs, maracas and vibraphones. Add to that two handfuls of apt lyrics, the signature sound of dual haunting voices and great dynamics, and you get the picture.
Touring Europe regulary, new material was flowing from Heyman and Pedersen, and with a mere eleven months a new album was released. Simply entitled "The DeSoto Caucus" it attempted to capture the vibe of the direction the band was moving live and was released to critical acclaim on April 4th 2014.
After touring the album, the band decided to take more time to do the follow-up, and nearly three years of focused work later their latest album "4" was released on January 27th 2017.
Songwriting continues, as does recording and general development. If you stick around, I promise we will too...
Liner notes from third album "The DeSoto Caucus":
"Last time I saw these guys was on a sweaty night in Hamburg in 2012, when my friend Howe Gelb was in town with his extended band Giant Giant Sand. One Giant less and you have Giant Sand. For the past ten years this band has consisted of the legendary main man Mr. Gelb plus four guys from Aarhus, Denmark: Anders Pedersen, Peter Dombernowsky, Nikolaj Heyman and Thøger T. Lund. They are a kind of second-sighted gentlemen you hardly find nowadays. Friendly, open, distinguished in a humble way, and always with an adventurous sparkle in the corner of their eyes. Tramps in suits, if you like. Hobos with homes. They won't throw TVs out of hotel windows, they never curse or yell, but if you pull a cigarette they would pass you a light, and cover the flame with their hand, asking you how things are going before you can even say thank you, sir. In 2006, they formed their own band, The Desoto Caucus, but I didn't know. They never told me. Not because they didn't want me to know. These guys just don't push. They slip. Elegantly. Like this: After a cheerful goodbye, after the band took off and left for the next stop of the tour that summer night in Hamburg, I stumbled home, blissful and bedazzled. The next morning I found a burned CD that somebody must have slipped into the pocket of my jacket. It was 'Offramp Rodeo', the then not yet released second album of their now infamous band. Without any expectations I gave it a try and was immediately hooked. Vast open sounds, elegant grooves, a voice in a dark-blue timbre telling mysterious stories about losing and finding things, the guitars breathing, more rolling then rocking, like a tender thunder. And while listening to these songs, my nervousness suspended into a kind of sweet contemplation as the light outside changed into a pastel glow you might find on the coast of California, or in the north of Denmark. For it really is the same kind of light, go see for yourself! Anyway, I couldn't stop listening. For months. And I wasn't surprised when I discovered who had made this music. I played it to friends and the reactions were always the same: Silence, soft smiles, then the question: Who is this? Can I have it? Please! I don't know how they do it. How they create this kind of atmosphere. It's music you could easily walk by, due to its inconspicuousness. It feels so natural, so in-tune and conscious, never showing off or trying to sell something, never trying at all. It's just there, it feels right, and we all know that this is the greatest craft: To create art that is so elemental, that you can't imagine a world without it. The trick is to start breathing. If you take your time and go with the flow, you will sink into it. You will find the levels and layers, the words between the lines, the subsonic sounds and branched connections – and you will get addicted in the most positive way. If you need labels to not get lost, you could call this music Americana, but since this has such a dated ring to it, you better change the sticker to Be-Here-Now or Contemporary something, or .... ah, forget it. Let it happen. Enjoy. And don't miss the light." - Tino Hanekamp
Liner notes from fourth album "4" by Jim White:
I remember the thunderstorm and the puddles everywhere. I'd just moved to North Florida and had not seen much rain prior to that. I was in the Second Grade and behind my school there was a pile of cast-off tires. I was kicking them, watching as the accumulated rainwater circled and splashed out when I heard a rough-edged boy's voice behind me bark out, “Don't you piss in that tire, son!”
The boy doing the talking was younger and smaller than me, but had this cocky strut to his way of standing. When I replied that I wasn't his son and certainly wasn't pissing in the tire he came back sharply with, “you calling me a liar!?” And with that he leaped on me and wrestled me to the ground. We tussled but I was no match for him. He pinned my shoulders down with his knees and slapped my face playfully a few times then laughed and, with a friendly smile, said, “You ain't much of a fighter are you?” He then helped me to my feet and invited me over to his house to watch a western on TV. His name was Geoff Rhinehart and he soon became like a brother to me.
Geoff understood brotherhood. He was the youngest of four rough and tumble boys, poor, uneducated, but self-determined to the point of being troublemakers. Geoff's dad was a drunk who did dredge work on a barge over in Mississippi. Geoff decided I needed men in my life and so from that point on he and his brothers sort of adopted me.
I was also the youngest of five, albeit with four sisters and an absentee father, so I spent the first part of my life knee-deep in women. From an early age I hungered for the company of men, but had none of the tools necessary to exist in a man's world. Geoff and his brothers taught me to fight and cuss and drink and stand my ground when need be, and I'm eternally grateful to them for that.
To some extent I'll always think like a woman – that's just how I was raised – but in my constant vigil to balance out my life and mind, over the years I've continued to seek out the company of strong charismatic men like Geoff and his brothers, drawn to the alien but comforting forms of communication they exhibit.
No small wonder I feel at home with the DeSoto boys; they're a brotherhood, men through and through, connected in the best of ways.
- Jim White