Genres:Folk, Ska, Country - Classic, Country - Alternative, Pop Rock, Pop - Adult Contemporary, Rock - Roots Rock, Rock - Pop Rock, Rock - Indie Rock, Rock - Hard Rock/Classic
“We never sought out to create a sound, we just started writing,” says Eric David, lead guitarist for Los Angeles quartet Stampead, which consists of Eric and his younger brother, lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and lyricist, Judd David, bassist Ivan Demaria, and drummer Sean McKinney . On their latest album, Oh Boy, the band’s freewheeling sound draws from the gutsy emotion of rock, the acoustic melodies of folk, and the jumpy two-step rhythms of country. It culminates into rustic-flavored Americana, replete with mandolin, pedal steel guitar, and harmonica flourishes.
After releasing three previous albums, including their self-titled debut album in 2002, followed by Couch the Comfort in 2004, and Milk and Honey in 2006, Stampead embarked on an epic 16-month U.S. tour. “We were playing at the best clubs in Los Angeles,” Eric says, “but after our third album we said, “We’ve been playing here for two years. Let’s see what it’s like to play for different people every night.’”
Stampead’s relentless hard work paid off and after returning to L.A. last year, the band was able to self-finance their fourth album, Oh Boy. The album was recorded at legendary studio Sunset Sound, with producer Jamie Candiloro, best known for his work on Ryan Adams’ studio albums Follow the Lights and Easy Tiger.
“Jamie has a really great sense of honesty about a recording,” Eric says. “In the past we’d go into the studio, jam it out and say, ‘Okay, session’s over.’ But now our music has all these different layers. I’m singing backup vocals and we’re adding banjo, cello, organ, and pedal steel. Our fear was that it would start to sound fake or overproduced, but he didn’t allow that. He had a really good ear for making it sound authentic.”
“One difference between Oh Boy and our other albums is that I play the acoustic guitar all the way through—something I usually don’t do,” Judd says. “It had a lot to do with us writing on tour.” Adds Eric, “Being on the road was such a nomadic existence… When you live in a van it's not that easy to set up your amps on the side of the road and play. The only time we plugged in was to perform. I put my electric guitar down for a lot of these new songs; it didn't feel right to start ripping electric solos. I started looking towards harmonicas and mandolins and thought about other ways to experiment ways to experiment with acoustic sounds and layers.”
The band’s lyricist, Judd is always coming up with ideas for songs. “I usually write about whatever’s going on in my life,” he says, “but with this album, I did my best to make sure not to have 12 songs about being on the road.” And so the album’s highlights address everything from living in Los Angeles (“Oh Boy”) to dating a widow (“My Widow”) to a relationship’s end (“Red Green, Yellow”). The song “Funeral Train” was inspired by a photography book about Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral train.
“Each song takes you to a different place,” Judd says. “We’re just excited for people to hear it.”