‘The Tarnished Gold’ is the work of the classic Beachwood Sparks lineup: singer / guitarist Chris Gunst, singer / bassist Brent Rademaker, singer / multi-instrumentalist Farmer Dave Scher, and singer / drummer Aaron Sperske, with invaluable support from guitarist and longtime friend Ben Knight (The Tyde).
For the sessions, the band expanded to seven pieces, with guitarists Knight and Neal Casal (solo artist and former member of Ryan Adams and The Cardinals), with Dan Horne on pedal steel in place of Scher, who opted to play organ, key, Flying V guitar and electrified melodica. Also lending a hand were Gunst’s wife Jen Cohen, Beachwood Sparks’ very first drummer Jimi Hey, Brent’s brother Darren (leader of The Tyde) and LA indie-rock maestro Ariel Pink. Producer Thom Monahan returned to his familiar spot behind the console.
The world has caught up with Beachwood Sparks since they came out of nowhere in 2000 with their self-titled debut album, bringing new life to what Gram Parsons famously described as “cosmic American music”, and recapturing LA’s laidback but vibrant heyday back in the late 60s and early 70s. At the time, this kind of harmony-rich, irony-free music was rare.
After their second album, 2002’s trippier ‘Once We Were Trees’, and the decidedly offbeat 2003 EP ‘Make The Cowboy Robots Cry’, Beachwood Sparks called it quits. But during the subsequent half decade, the indie music scene began to change with the appearance and wholesale acceptance of multi-voiced throwback groups from Fleet Foxes to Bon Iver to Grizzly Bear.
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