Few people have the gift of writing catchy music that leaves you with plenty of food for thought. Joining that illustrious company that includes Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Bob Marley is a singer/multi-instrumentalist from Orange County who answers to the name of Nate Paladino. He’ll make you swing, bop and twist to his tunes in the same measure as you will think deeply about their pragmatic message. Paladino is not trying to sell some ‘love conquers all’ happy endings; what he offers is his un-sugar coated world view. “The world isn’t out to get me; I make my bed and my music is about sleeping in it,” is the crux of it.
Army of influences
That is what his crowds in Orange County and Los Angeles bars have come to expect whenever Nate Paladino is on stage. November 7 saw the release of Paladino’s second recording ‘Good Boy’. His first was the 10-track album ‘Like A Nail In Your Head’ which he put out in early 2012. It was a record he handled mostly on his own recording all the instruments, including the bass and drums. You could tell that he was a man with an eclectic ear, and he audibly tried to find a place for his army of influences in all his songs. You could hear it all from the story-telling blues of the Howlin’ Wolf to the wiry guitars and lose drums of the 50s/60s rock n roll movement. Nate’s 2014 EP is a trimmed, refined collection of just 6 songs. The production is much crisper and he has called upon the talents of Frank Fermi and Jon Hyrkas to take over the bass and drums respectively. I think I like the outcome.
Good Boy opens with the chest-thumping ‘My Kind Of Bitch’ in which Nate grabs his lover by the elbow and whispers that he’ll have her despite her dodgy ways. It has the kind of surf-friendly melody that all 60s pop songs seemed to have. At times Nate sinks into love-struck ballads like ‘Buy Your Heart’ in which he promises an apathetic lover that he’ll purchase her heart, no matter the cost, and make it love him. He’ll buy her dinner wherever her pretty heart pleases among other things, just as long as she returns his affections. Other times he dives feet-first into sixties pop that jolts your head back and forth and makes a tangled mess of your hair. He does this in ‘Don’t Say Maybe’ where he attempts to revive the swagger and energy of Elvis. And an admirable effort it is.
Even if you have no love for Paladino as an artist, by the end of Good Boy you’ll have to admire his guile as a poet and the unpretentious manner in which he pays tribute to the rock, blues and pop forefathers. You can stream the EP at your leisure here or head to Bandcamp to download it.
Miami Based, Internationally Known