The Upshot: The album that fans of the erstwhile La Vienta member have been waiting for, and it brings the goods track after delightful track.
BY JONATHAN LEVITT
Stefan Schyga finally lets things rip on his latest album. Shaking off the shadow of his former band La Vienta, Stefan has created an album that brings to the fore his assorted musical influences into a clear and cohesive package that is a thrill to listen to. And while we can’t forget his other band for the beauty they gave to the world, we can feel safe in the knowledge that Stefan has reached a new high water mark in his musical career. The album, with its 12 tracks, takes Stefan’s music into uncharted territory. Collaborating with a group of select local musicians on this outing, Stefan adds flute, pedal steel, and keyboards to the mix. The result is a summery chilled-out record recalling, in this reviewer’s mind, trips to Old Mesilla in Southern New Mexico as a child and driving past the pistachio orchards that provided a respite from the oppressive heat that could crack a dashboard.
The track “End of The Drought” is a stone cold classic that is late afternoon driving on I-10 with a thunderstorm wreaking havoc off in the distance: Head past the steel foundry and wet and wild water world—this is the aural equivalent of that glow off the Franklins at sunset. The track is tight and lets the slide guitar and deft percussion shine.
Another stunner is “Seductive Gypsy,” with some amazing flute playing and Stefan’s jazzy side coming to the fore. Then there’s “Over There,” which is Stefan’s Pat Metheny/Steely Dan moment. Jazzy and organic, the song has the feel of a star-studded jam session that someone happened to record and then release. This is definitely a direction I can see Stefan and crew pushing towards and finding much success with as they plan their next record.
No more just the German guy with a love of the Southwest and Flamenco guitar, Stefan shows, on this album that he has very much become part of the desert landscape he loves so much. It also shows that while Stefan is very much the centerpiece of this record, he lets his players shine, both with the upfront production (which actually lets us hear them), and with the focus he shines on their respective parts. The chemistry created on this album is a joy to behold. I could get on board with Stefan touring this record; these songs are just too good to be relegated to being listened to solely on one’s iPhone.
End of The Drought is the album fans of Stefan have been waiting for and it brings the goods track after delightful track. So show the guy some love and buy the damn thing!
DOWNLOAD: “Seductive Gypsy” “Zocalo” “End of the Drought” “Over There”