An album full of harmonies, the beach and Southern California. The Beach Boys, right? No, it’s “The Bamboo Trading Co.,” an intricate new album that takes a harmonic musical journey similar to the group, but has ideas all its own. Album co-producer Gary Griffin says it was actually inspired by a movie, though, surprisingly, not a surfing film.
“The album came from (co-producer) Dave Beard and my collaboration with Steve Latshaw who wrote and directed a film called ‘Return of the Killer Shrews.’ This was a sequel to the 1959 horror classic, ‘The Killer Shrews.’ We recorded several songs for the soundtrack of the movie and the Bamboo Trading Company was borne of that,” he said.
It also has a couple of links to the Beach Boys. One is original Beach Boy David Marks, who guests on two tracks. Matt Jardine, son of Beach Boy Al Jardine, also sings on several songs. and Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean contributed vocals to several tracks. His daughters, Jillian and Katie, are also on the album. And the album was mastered by Mark Linett, who has done much work with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.
Griffin had high praise for Matt Jardine. “(Matt) has a terrific voice and his timbre is very similar to his dad’s, who, by the way, is still singing incredibly well at age 70!!,” Griffin says.
The vocal style of “The Bamboo Trading Co.” draws from several eras of the Beach Boys, Griffin says.
“I think the era that influenced me the most would the late 60’s/early 70’s records (‘Friends,’ ‘Wild Honey,’ ’20-20,’ ‘Sunflower,’ ‘The Beach Boys Love You’). The boundaries were limitless and (the musicians) were experimenting with interesting and unconventional instrumental combinations. I started with them just after that time and learned so much about recording from them. Mostly, ‘if it sounds good, let’s use it.’”
One example of a Beach Boys influence is that the album begins and ends with “Airborne” that recalls the Beach Boys “Loop De Loop” from the “Landlocked” sessions. But Griffin said they also tried to give the album it’s own distinct sound.
“I try not to enter a recording project like this with the mindset of ‘what would Brian do?,’ but if there are obvious influences evident, it’s understandable. I’ve worked with those guys off and on for 36 years. But I always try to give it my own twist.”
Will the group be doing any live events? “At this time, I’d say no because all of our schedules are so busy with different bands and recording projects,” Griffin says.
“Phil Bardowell and I play with the Surf City Allstars, Matt works a lot with us and with his dad, Randell Kirsch tours extensively with Mike Love’s Beach Boys show, Miami Dan Yoe is just finishing a new CD of his own (which is fabulous !) But maybe someday we’ll do a special event – who knows?”
The album is available on Amazon.com and iTunes.
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