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We could all list albums that fit certain occasions or places. Louis Armstrong and Duke Wellington’s collaboration is one to spin on a rainy day or in the winter in front of a fire or with candles burning. Neil Young’s Harvest Moon might be the perfect road trip album, depending on your taste of course. And if you were grew up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, then 2Unlimited’s No Limits was the workout soundtrack (and it still might be). Los Colognes‘ Dos is, as my wife exclaimed, “perfect for listening to outdoors”, whether camping, at the cottage, having a BBQ in the backyard, or just enjoying our cold beverage on the patio.
The description is apt as the Nashville-based sextet have created an album that resonates with the ’80s smooth-rock of Dire Straits and the blues rock of legend J.J. Cale as well as the folk-blues-rock of Canadian favorites Blue Rodeo – music often associated with the end of summer. It doesn’t take long to hear the cool, summer vibes, as the album opens with the funky and bluesy rock number, “Baby, You Can’t Have Both“, which leads into the groovy, Dire Straits-esque “Backstreet Driver”. (Speaking of road trip songs, this is a great option.)
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Besides the nods to ’70s and ’80s, the other noticeable thing on the album is the smooth and silky harmonies provided by frontman Jay Rutherford and drummer Aaron Mortensen. Their vocals have a relaxing, sedative quality, which is best displayed on the easy-going “One Direction” and the bluesy ballad “Hard to Remember”. But even on the more upbeat numbers, such as the twangy “All That You Know”, the bar-room jammer “Cherry” (which likely has a Jerry Lee Lewis feel when performed live), and the terrific, summery “Golden Dragon Hut”, the harmonies still take center stage. As a result, you’ll likely find yourself involuntarily swaying from side to side or really letting loose. It’s dance music before such a term existed and before disco took hold of a generation.
Nowadays, pop and rock as well as rap, hip hop, electronic, and EDM dominate airwaves. The music of our grandparents and parents have been forgotten by many, but Los Colognes have shown that a classic sound can sound new and refreshing yet still be compelling. It would be unfair to categorize Los Colognes’ Dos as a ’70s and ’80s album; rather, it is an album of timeless music.
Los Colognes are Jay Rutherford (vocals, guitar); Aaron Mortenson (drums, vocals); Gordon Persha (bass); Micah Hulscher (keys); Chuck Foster (keys); and Wojtek Krupka (guitar).
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