A John Vanderslice show is one part musical performance and one part audience-bonding experience.
In addition to performing songs from ten original albums, Vanderslice tells stories, sometimes with deeply personal reflections, about his travels and inspirations. So his latest living-room tour will be an even cozier way to hear selections from The Cedars, an album created under pressure, but apparently without a time limit.
Vanderslice is often called a musician's musician, for his production work for bands like Spoon and the Mountain Goats, and for his strict adherence to analog recording at his studio, Tiny Telephone, located in San Francisco and Oakland, California.
Recording The Cedars somehow slipped past the one-month mark to become a 54-day project. In this one regard, owning your own studio is an extreme luxury.
"We used a lot of modular synthesizers and ARPs and Moogs stuff from the 60s," says Vanderslice said in a KEXP performance in August. "We made these systems talk to each other to create the super-retro tech world of 1971."
"There are feature films that are shot in 54 days," Vanderslice told SFStation in April. "It was a tremendously long and psychologically complicated part of my life."
Despite his prodigious output, the new album came as a bit of a surprise. That's because his 2013 tour for his ninth original album, Dagger Beach nearly ended in disaster, when Vanderslice – a passenger in the front seat of his tour van – almost died in an accident on an Ohio highway. He claimed then to be done for good with touring.
Vanderslice says it was a record label, Native Cat Records, that convinced him to record again, and the tour reflects a more casual way to support the album. Only 40 guests will be able to purchase tickets to the show, which will be hosted at a private residence (the address is revealed to those who buy a ticket).
The album name refers to an 11-square-mile canyon in the West Sonoma County wilderness, where geological anomalies are shrouded from tourists' eyes by parcels of private, inaccessible land.
Fader called The Cedars "the finest work the San Francisco-based artist has released to date," making it a both a solid introduction for the uninitiated, and a likely hit for JV devotees. On a tour that is only slightly more accessible than the Cedars itself, the lucky few who get to hear the songwriter up close are in for a special treat.
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