The Dustbowl Revival - "Call My Name" (audio) (premiere)

by Sarah Zupko

15 June 2017

The Dustbowl Revival adds a serious dose of soul and funk to their wide-ranging American roots music as one can hear on their new song, "Call My Name".
Photo: Talley Media 

Los Angeles’ the Dustbowl Revival has been around for ten years delighting audiences with their upbeat American roots music, and now the group has a new album on tap that sees them expanding their sound into new areas. Previous recordings have seen the ensemble explore New Orleans jazz and old-time folk, but their latest self-titled album releasing June 16th on Signature Sounds sees the Dustbowl Revival adding a serious dose of soul and funk to their wide-ranging music. Bright Stax-style horns now punctuate the songs’ rhythms and add an element that’s likely to bring show audiences to their feet.
On the group’s new song “Call My Name”, the Dustbowl Revival gets their groove on with anthemic choruses, a bluesy soulfulness in the playing and singing, some flashy lead guitar and positively incendiary horns. It’s a thrilling new sound that the Dustbowl Revival has added to their arsenal, but the group is always making exciting music, so it’s always worth picking up their releases if you have a love for roots music.

Bandmember Liz Beebe says, “I love this song. This was one of the first new songs that we started doing when I joined the band. Zach and I worked on it in my front yard, singing on a picnic table, figuring out harmonies. He wrote the third verse on that table. That was four years ago! We’d been playing it as a blues song. I was always drawn to it. It was a medium tempo, crowd-groover that would fit almost anywhere in our set list. It’s such a sexy song, that’s the way I’ve always approached it. Sometimes, Zach and I connect to a song via different stories. He often writes one idea/story that he’s telling. When I learn the song, I interpret his lyrics my own way and may be singing from a completely different frame of mind and perspective. It’s not unlike life or a relationship, in that people experience life through their own lens. For me, this song is about getting it on and trying to entice the other person to get it started!

When Ted came into the studio, we had this long list of songs we were considering for the album. I was adamant about him hearing Call My Name. We continue to play songs that aren’t recorded, but as you promote an album, there’s always the possibility that the ones left off, will fall out of the rotation. I didn’t want that to happen with this song. I wanted to make sure Ted heard it and get his opinion on how it could fit in the track list. He was drawn to the “row row row, row your boat” part and wanted to hear it repeated more within the form. We deconstructed it completely, changed the groove and feel of the song and then workshopped new phrasing of the lyrics which gave it that new repeating shape. We were all feeling the new version. I felt like it took my initial instinct of what the song was about and amplified it. It’s even sexier now. I get down so hard when we play this song.”

Meanwhile, Zach Lupeten says, “A big lightbulb-over-my-head moment as a songwriter came to me when I first heard Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde double album back in Michigan growing up—he seemed to take Blues forms and stretch them out without loosing the snap of the hook at the end. “Call My Name” started as a pretty straight Chicago style 12-bar in the manner of Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker—but when we went into rehearsal, it snaked its way into this funk jam that we couldn’t stop playing.

Some tunes make you smile every time you roll into them—and that’s kind of what this one does for us—it’s like a shot of sexy adrenaline. Lyrically I wrote it about the push and pull of love and desire as their own kind of inner devils—it makes you want things that are irrational and dark but also makes you strong and powerful. Like maybe having a little Devil inside you isn’t always bad. Ted had us extend the “row your boat” sequence because it just sort of stuck in our brains—some of my favorite lyrics don’t make much sense. Maybe we need to stop thinking so much!”

Sat., June 17 LOS ANGELES, CA Teragram Ballroom
Sun.,June 18 SAN DIEGO, CA Casbah
Mon., June 19 CLAREMONT, CA Scripps College
Wed., June 21 LASALLE, IL Uptown Grille
Thurs., June 22 EVANSTON / CHICAGO, IL Space
Fri., June 23 OWENSBORO, KY ROMP Fest
Sat., June 24 NASHVILLE, TN The Cornelia Fort Pickin’ Party
Sun., June 25 JOHNSON CITY, TN The Down Home
Mon., June 26 COLUMBUS, OH Woodlands Tavern
Tues., June 27 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
Thurs., June 29 ROCHESTER, NY Montage
Fri., June 30 NEW YORK, NY City Winery
Mon., July 3 PORTLAND, OR WaterFront Blues Festival  
Wed., July 5 MINNEAPOLIS, MN TheDakota
Thurs., July 6 MADISON, WI The Edgewater
Fri., July 7 ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
Sat., July 8 HARBOR SPRINGS, MI Blissfest
Wed., July 12 CINCINNATI, OH The Ballroom at the Taft Theatre
Fri., July 14 MOUNT SOLON, VA Red Wing Roots Music Festival
Sun.,  July 16 GREENFIELD, MA Green River Festival
Thurs., July 20 SQUAW VALLEY, CA Wanderlust Festival
Sat., July 22 SANTA MARIA, CA Presqu’ile Winery
Fri., July 28 CALGARY, AB Calgary Folk Fest
Sat., Aug. 5 LOS ANGELES, CA Mountain Gate Country Club
Thurs., Aug. 10 DENVER, CO Levitt Pavilion
Fri., Aug. 11 WILLITS, CA Uncle John’s Rendezvous
Sat., Aug. 12 DENVER, CO Levitt Pavilion
Tues., Aug. 15 RIDGEFIELD, CT Ballard Park
Wed., Aug. 16 WOODBRIDGE, NJ Music on Main Street
Thurs., Aug. 17 BOSTON, MA Brighton Music Hall
Fri., Aug. 18 PHILADELPHIA, PA World Café Live (Downstairs) 
Sat., Aug. 19 COCKEYSVILLE, MD Oregon Ridge Park
Thurs., Aug. 24 TONDER, DENMARK Tonder Festival
Thurs., Sept. 7 SISTERS, OR Sisters Folk Fest
Tues., Sept. 12 COOS BAY, OR Music on the Bay
Sat., Sept. 16 MONTAUK, NY The Great Eastern Music Fest
Sun., Sept. 17 BRISTOL, TN Bristol Rhythm & Roots
Fri., Nov. 3 LOS ANGELES, CA York Manor in Highland Park
Wed., Nov. 8 ST. AUGUSTINE, FL St. Augustine Amphitheatre - Front Porch Stage
Thurs., Nov. 9 BROOKSVILLE, FL Riverhawk Festival
Fri., Jan. 5, 2018 TEMECULA, CA Old Town Temecula Community Theater

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article