Ears Wide Open: GospelbeacH

GospelbeacH (Photo by Kathleen Henderson)
GospelbeacH (Photo by Kathleen Henderson)

The lineage of kaleidoscopic California folk-rock could hardly have meandered into better hands than those of GospelbeacH, the all-star quintet whose members boast resumés longer than a hippie’s hair. At the center of the spinning wheel is singer-guitarist Brent Rademaker (Beachwood Sparks, the Tyde, Further), who last year began jamming with former Beachwood Sparks bandmate and drummer Tom Sanford. Guitarist Neal Casal (Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Furthur) joined in, and then guitarist Jason Soda (Everest, Watson Twins) and bassist Kip Boardman (Watson Twins). GospelbeacH’s debut album “Pacific Surf Line” (an homage to steamer trains of the California coast) sounds like the sum of all those parts — bluesy folk with a sunny disposition. And a cockeyed Grateful Dead smile, if you will.

For his part, Rademaker says: “I’d kind of gotten bitter about bands, so starting a new one was the last thing I wanted to do,” until he starting jamming and playing covers with old friends. “There was no band, no name, no record deal. But it started taking on a vibe of its own and turning into something, and then we started writing songs together, just spitballing ideas back and forth. And the songs we were coming up with were telling stories, about people I knew and places where I grew up. We began exploring the kind of collaboration that we hadn’t really done since the early days of Beachwood Sparks, and the joy returned.” Co-produced by Rademaker, Soda and Scott Hackwith (Spiritualized, the Ramones, Dig), “Pacific Surf Line” will come out Oct. 16 via Alive Records, full of warm vocal harmonies, ace guitar work and a vibe that’s somehow specific to the Left Coast.

||| Stream: “Mick Jones” and “Sunshine Skyway”