By Noe Gutierrez
On Thursday, February 28th California Country will make inroads into Pioneertown as Pearl and the Canyon Revelry Band, Sacred Cowboys and Starlight Cleaning Co. perform at Pappy and Harriet’s. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 7 p.m. and show starts at 8 p.m. This is an ALL AGES event. You can purchase tickets at pappyandharriets.com.
Coachella Valley Weekly had the honor of interviewing the beautiful songstress Pearl Aday, who is unmistakably continuing to hammer out her musical course with grace and purposeful subject matter. Her 2018 album, Heartbreak and Canyon Revelry, is remarkable in its heart and messages of vulnerability and emotional experiences expressed through words and music that allow you to realize the California Country sound.
Pearl: “I am so stoked to be playing Pappy’s. I’ve been hearing about how amazing it is for years. It’s an honor to have the chance to rock that stage. I’m gonna soak it in and give it all I got.”
CVW: The California Country sound seems similar to the Bakersfield Sound as both are significantly influenced by rock and roll. What exactly is the California Country Sound to you?
Pearl: “California Country sounds like The Eagles, The Byrds, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt and so on. I’ve been calling my sound “Rock and Roll with pedal steel” because really it’s all just Rock and Roll when you get down to it. My live show gives the mellow and the kick.”
CVW: Heartbreak & Canyon Revelry is a wonderfully written, recorded and produced album. Has your approach to your music career changed since you became a mother?
Pearl: “Thanks so much for that compliment. This album was really conceived along with my son and all of the life-twisting, mind-tripping, extreme highs and lows, pure joy, and fear and love like I’d never felt before that moved through me and continues to move through me now in my life as a mother to this amazing boy. It’s taken me a while to find balance again between pouring my whole self and passion into being my boy’s best mama helping him grow into the best person he can be, and pouring my whole self and passion into my own soul and voice and life as an artist. I am an all or nothing type, so learning how to essentially split myself between the two and then learning that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive at all has been an adventure in itself.”
CVW: Tell us about your current line-up of musicians.
Pearl: “My band is a band of killers. KILLERS! Jim Wilson has been my songwriting partner for about 16 years now. We wrote my first album, Little Immaculate White Fox, together. Jim founded the rock trio Mother Superior years ago. I’ve forever been a huge fan of his, so linking up and sparking not only a friendship but a partnership in music has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. Jim plays rhythm and lead guitar with me and vocals as well as in his own solo project, as well as lending his talents live and in the studio with Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, and Sparks to name a few. Zach Throne plays lead and rhythm guitar and vocals with me, and is a powerhouse on any instrument including his insane voice. Joel Martin plays strong, groovy and otherworldly pedal steel with me, and is a polymath musical wizard with his own solo project, and lending his talents to various great acts. Ryan MacMillan is a drumming genius in my band as well as his own band The PushStars. Joey Vera is a bass veteran having co-founded the metal outfit Armored Saint back in the day. There really aren’t that many other players who can touch Joey, he’s so high on the scale of masters. Joey will be on the road for this gig at Pappy and Harriet’s so we’ll miss him here, but we are lucky enough to have the privilege of the equally groovy Dahniel Knight joining us for this one. Mark Hart is on keys with us, and man are we lucky. Mark is best known for being a member of both Supertramp and Crowded House, as well as a highly sought after session musician. I can’t tell you enough how amazing it feels to stand on stage and make music with this incredible band of brothers.”
CVW: Do you or the band have any ties or connections to the Coachella Valley/High Desert?
Pearl: “I’ll have to ask the guys about them, but if you mean feeling tied to and endlessly inspired by the intense beauty and cosmic energy of the Coachella Valley and the High Desert, then yes I have that connection.”
CVW: You have shared that writing and performing your music is therapeutic for you. Digging deeper, how do you feel when you hear from fans that your music has helped them through difficult times?
Pearl: “Whenever I’m lucky enough to have a fan of mine tell me that my music influences them to move through their tough times, that it’s a comfort or help to them in any way, I feel successful. Making that personal connection with anyone who hears the music that you create is really what it’s all about for me. First of all, it means that someone is listening and that’s the beginning of it all, and secondly once my music reaches others who feel it in their guts then ‘my’ music becomes ‘our’ music and THAT’S what it’s really all about. It means everything.”
CVW: Despite current events and the temperament of the world, music continues to keep humans connected. How important is it for you to continue your craft and encouraging others to do the same in order to make sense of it all?
Pearl: “Whenever you can find an outlet of expression, take it, death grip that shit and don’t let it go. Let it take you through the tough times, through the bliss, through anything you need it for in life. For me, telling someone something through a song that might otherwise be too scary to say in conversation is something that has saved me. Having an outlet to express yourself helps bypass the fear.”
CVW: Please share more about the background of your most recent album, Heartbreak and Canyon Revelry.
Pearl: “Again this album is about transition, losing your footing and then finding your way to a place that fits you now after the storm of change. You have to lose yourself to find yourself again, and within that is so much heartbreak and fear, but also so much joy and revelry. I moved to Topanga about nine years ago, so this canyon was the backdrop for all of this story.”
CVW: What are the immediate plans for PEARL & The Canyon Revelry Band?
Pearl: “Well, we’ll be playing Pappy’s on the 28th. We’ll be at The Viper Room on March 22nd with Charlie Overbey, and we’ve got some really exciting announcements coming up, some festivals that are blowing our mind as well as a residency in the works and possible overseas dates in the future. There is so much in the works. Stay tuned to our Instagram @pearlcaliforniacountry and Facebook pearlrocks/facebook.com!
CVW: With a great new album and renewed energy, is Stagecoach Festival on your radar?
Pearl: “It sure is. We would love to play Stagecoach!”
2/28 – Pappy and Harriet’s – Pioneertown, CA
3/22 – The Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA