Cosmic Nordicana. Musical worlds meet in The DeSoto Caucus.
After years of touring as part of Howe Gelb's Giant Sand, the DeSoto Caucus are finally fully exploring their impressions from the dusty trail, transformed by the native Danes into a slightly melancholic singer-songwriter based indie-rock. A very original music with brilliant and sometimes downright complex grooves, cool guitar work, and a timeless vintage soundscape inhabited by organs, maracas and vibraphones. Add to that two handfuls of clever and intriguing lyrics, haunting voices, and great dynamics, and you get the picture.
The DeSoto Caucus was started when Anders Pedersen, Thøger T. Lund and Peter Dombernowsky sat around during their Giant Sand bandleader Howe Gelb's successful run with a bunch of Canadians and The Voices of Praise gospel choir. EliteContinentalCustomClub became the first released recording under the Desoto Caucus name and soon the trio started opening for themselves on Giant Sand tours. The initial idea always having been for the band to serve as a basis for playing with anyone interesting around, an invitation from the band's hometown of Aarhus, Denmark offered an opportunity to work with Kurt Wagner as a steady five-piece. Following the success of that cooperation, the band started a tradition of putting on shows at the annual Aarhus Festival, bringing in gifted singers and songwriters for one-off shows under the Medium-Rare Sessions moniker. The sessions have since seen them stage shows with Mark Lanegan, Scout Nibblett, Danish legend CV Jørgensen, Emiliana Torrini, Agnes Obel, Isobel Campbell, John Doe, Jim White, Josh Rouse, and M. Ward, among others.
In 2012 they signed with Glitterhouse Records and realeased Offramp Rodeo. The album was very well received, with Uncut Magazine calling it "a slow-burning stunner rammed with songs of hauting melancholy" and Americana Magazine predicting that: "big things will surely come for the DeSoto Caucus."
Touring commenced while putting a new record together, and when the 2014 self entitled album hit the streets, it was received equally good. Here's what Dutch AltCountry had to say:
" Last year we were pretty excited about Offramp Rodeo, but the third, self-titled album is even better, much better even. High level desert rootsrock. You hear the wind blow through the desert of Jutland, the tumbleweeds piling up against the left post office in Aarhus. Important is the hypnotic interplay of bassist Henrik Poulsen and drummer Peter Dombernowsky. This gives twangy guitars and suave keyboard performance space to excel. Add to that the quiet recitation of vocalist Anders Pedersen, and you have the recipe of this accessible mix by the Desoto Caucus.”
The DeSoto Caucus is:
Anders Pedersen vocal & guitars /// Peter Dombernowsky drums & percussion /// Nikolaj Heyman guitars, keyboards & vocal/// Thøger T. Lund vocal, piano, cello & clarinet /// Henrik Poulsen bass
Liner notes from the album "The DeSoto Caucus" by Tino Hanekamp:
"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
En musikalsk opdagelsesrejse krydser sit spor.
The DeSoto Caucus udsender nyt album.
The Desoto Caucus fortsætter opdagelsesrejsen i nordamerikas musikalske geografi. De fire erfarne musikere Anders Pedersen, Nikolaj Heyman, Peter Dombernowsky og Thøger T. Lund har under titlen ”Offramp Rodeo” samlet indtryk og erfaringer fra de støvede landeveje de, som en del af det amerikanske kultband Giant Sand, har kørt tynde igennem de seneste ti år.
Resultatet er en let melankolsk singer-songwriter-baseret indie-rock, med sange der kredser om kuldslåede erkendelser og mærkelige oplevelser. Om kærlighed, der er svær og besværlig, men også betragtninger over magtstrukturer og storpolitik.
Medlemmerne af The DeSoto Caucus blev oprindeligt bragt sammen i forbindelse med optagelserne til Howe Gelbs soloplade The Listener, som udkom i foråret 2003. Umiddelbart herefter indtrådte de som den nye grundstamme i Gelb's bandkonstellation Giant Sand. De efterfølgende år blev i vidt omfang tilbragt på turne med Giant Sand i USA og Europa. Som et direkte resultat af et Gelb-sideprojekt med en canadisk gospelgruppe, udgav danskerne deres første plade med titlen EliteContinentalCustomClub.
Som en slags moderne forlængelse af amerikansk folktradition, på danske hænder, fremstod albummet forbløffende og ganske formidabelt. Sideløbende engageredes bandet som ”hus-orkester” ved Århus Festuge, og siden 2007 har The DeSoto Caucus været de musikalske bagmænd for en stjernerække af danske og udenlandske kunstnere i de koncerter, der går under betegnelsen The Medium Rare Sessions. Også her er det tydeligt, at deres dybe forbindelse til amerikansk tradition giver dem ubesværet adgang til en nuanceret, personlig og bred musikalsk palet. Fra Danmark har de således i festugerne leveret enestående opbakning til bl.a. C.V. Jørgensen, Marie Frank, Agnes Obel og Peter Sommer og store udenlandske navne som Mark Lanegan, Josh Rouse, Charlie Sexton og M. Ward.
På deres anden udgivelse ”Offramp Rodeo” har The DeSoto Caucus indsamlet musikalske erkendelser, der er tilgængelige for dem, som kommer til traditionen med kundskabens respekt og sensibilitet. Her bliver det fortroliges forlængelse også det fornyende fremmede, og opdagelsesrejsen trækker således spor mellem en gammel og en ny verden, nøjagtig som den conquistador bandet har taget navn efter.
”Offramp Rodeo” udkom på tyske Glitterhouse Records 8. marts som LP, CD og download. Opfølgeren udkommer i starten af april sammesteds.