I was browsing at Down Home Music in El Cerrito and came upon an album called High Desert by Mars Arizona. I've been listening to it more or less nonstop since. OK, I've started skipping a few of the cuts (as usual), but I really like a lot of the original songs, including "Jesus Ain't Coming Back (That Way)," "High Desert," and "Alabama Bound." Covers of the Grateful Dead ("It Must Have Been the Roses"), Neil Young ("For the Turnstiles"), and the Rolling Stones ("Sweet Virginia") are icing on the proverbial cake.
I went online and learned more about the musicians and producers who helped Berkeley-based Paul Knowles and Nicole Storto make this record. They include folks who play or work with Wilco, Steve Earle, Uncle Tupelo, Lucinda Williams, and I See Hawks in L.A. I also learned that Mars Arizona is playing the Red Devil Lounge on Polk Street this Wednesday night. (Tickets are $3.) People, this is exactly why Al Gore invented the World Wide Internet.