Thursday, August 20, 2009

Michael Ubaldini to perform tonight in San Juan Capistrano

Photo credit: Jesse Navarro
This story was originally posted on The Orange County Register Web site on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009.
Michael Ubaldini blends '60s rock with today's sounds
Although Michael Ubaldini's forthcoming album "Portable Record Player" won't have its official release until Aug. 25, the Fountain Valley-based rocker's new disc will be celebrated with a full-length show at the Coach House on Aug. 20.
Fans attending the concert will be able to purchase copies of the album that night, as well as catch the acclaimed singer-songwriter performing many of the disc's choice songs with his top-notch band.
"Most of the songs were written in 2008," Ubaldini said during a recent interview.
The undeniable rock gem "Scandal" was the first song recorded for the album, and is already familiar to many listeners due to a television profile of Ubaldini by Time Warner Cable director Glenn Ross that was aired via CNN Headline News earlier this year.
"It was also included on the IPO ('International Pop Overthrow: Volume 11' collection) CD released last year," Ubaldini said.
Since issuing his Lee Rocker-produced debut "Mystery Train" in 1994, Ubaldini has proved to be one of rock 'n' roll's most prolific and gifted artists, blending rockabilly, blues, folk and alt-country into his own winning blend of Americana.
"Portable Record Player" continues to showcase Ubaldini's flawless songwriting front and center, but brings new sonic elements into the mix.
"I just added some different things to make it broader. I wanted to use more vocal harmonies and fuzz guitars and things like that," Ubaldini said, adding that while he was inspired by old '60s records he clearly avoided making a retro-sounding album.
"I was kind of marrying Americana with '60s garage rock and harmony groups."
While songs such as "The Final Curtain" and "Not a Heart Left to Steal" will please fans of his previous rock releases, "Memories of Belgium," "Got Money on Ya" and the aforementioned "Scandal" masterfully mirror the magic of some of rock's earliest masters courtesy of vocal flourishes and artful arrangements.
Ubaldini contributed vocals, guitar, piano and other musical touches across the album, but he also used the talents of a number of key players to complete his wide-ranging sonic vision. He brought in Hope Easton to play cello, while engineerJerry Adamowicz added bass, keyboards and violin to the project.
"All the basic tracks were done live. The only thing that we really had to do (in terms of overdubs) were the strings and the pedal steel," Ubaldini said. "Even some of the vocals were done live."
The fact that some of the earliest vocal performances ended up on the finished CD also undoubtedly add to the energetic and spontaneous power displayed across "Portable Record Player."
Ubaldini wanted to perform at the Coach House, in part, because listeners who order his new CD from Kool Kat Musik get a bonus disc ("Tears of a Lonesome Train") that features a dozen live tracks he recorded at the Coach House last year.
"It's the kind of record I always wanted to make. I've been carrying it around in my head a few years," Ubaldini admitted.
"The mix of twangy stuff and old rock 'n' roll with the energy of punk …I knew something original would come out of it.
"I don't think there is anything like it; if playing rock 'n' roll from the heart is dead, so be it. But I'm still playing it."

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