photo by Rhea Harding

photo by Rhea Harding

As luck would have it, the music of Cashew & Cleary is the perfect soundtrack for summer backyard barbecues, lazy days with the family on the front porch and well, good ol’ American 4th of July celebrations. Their 4-track EP, Husbands Vol. 1, features gentle harmonies, orchestral moments with plenty of strings, and even horns and a tuba! As the title suggests, this is just the first in a series. Various sun-drenched California influences are heard here, from folky 1960s Laurel Canyon, to West Coast artists like Love, The Byrds and Beck, to the spacier psychedelic desert cowboy vibe of Joshua Tree, to the modern day artsiness of Echo Park. It’s a quirky combination that blends together just beautifully.

The duo of Cashew & Cleary consists of Los Angeles musicians Eric “Cashew” Harding and Patrick Cleary. Cashew’s musical lineage includes psych folk band Eagle Winged Palace and garage band The Prix. Cleary was guitarist and lead vocalist for the Americana band The Digs and prog rock band Silver Phial. Listening to each other’s bands let to songwriting sessions, which has happily culminated in recordings and occasional live shows.

Here’s the inspiration behind one of the tracks — “‘I’m an Illusion’ was a magical poem that Patrick wrote to a waltz,” says Cashew, “We experimented with it and found a way to bridge the gap between Americana and full-blown Ranchero. A welding job like that can only be produced in a taqueria and coyote town like LA.”

The EP was created in DIY style, with family and friends taking part, including Scott Bassman on bass, Cheryl Lynn Caddick (Cleary’s wife) on drums and percussion, Curt Harding on bass, James Arellano on horns, Darryl Brown on violin and Robert F. Datta on tuba. It was recorded with Rob Campanella (Beachwood Sparks, Brian Jonestown Massacre), and it’s available through the usual digital means and also on cassette. Yup, that’s what I said — cassette.

Says Cleary, “Our playing and singing is often cited as being of another era, and I’m proud of that. We’re an anachronism, but in these times, that seems like a good thing.”

They have a FREE SHOW scheduled at the Echo in Los Angeles, for Sunday, July 6. It’s the Grand Ole Echo with Rose’s Pawn Shop (country music and Sunday BBQ), which is “patrolled by Radar, Cashew & Cleary, Creekwood and Kip Boardman.” Sounds like a great time.

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Special thanks to Joe Fielder, formerly of Radio Free Silver Lake and now a defector living in the city of Boston, for turning me on to this fine band.

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