“This record is about as close to the sound of home as you can get,” says Mapache’s Sam Blasucci. “We recorded it with a bunch of our friends in the house where we were living in a neighborhood that we loved. It’s a family vibe through and through.”
It made perfect sense, then, for Mapache to name their new album in honor of the place at the heart of it all: Liberty Street. Produced by longtime collaborator Dan Horne (Circles Around The Sun, Allah-Las), From Liberty Street captures Mapache at their finest, weaving airtight harmonies around stripped-down, organic arrangements that blur the lines between traditional folk and modern cosmic country. The songs here draw on everything from Mexican boleros and Hawaiian-steeped surf to Bakersfield twang and lonesome cowboy campfire tunes, and Blasucci and his musical partner, Clay Finch, deliver them with the kind of easygoing charm and natural intuition usually reserved for blood brothers or married couples. It’s an instantly engaging chemistry they share, a captivating musical bond that mirrors the comfort, closeness, and camaraderie of the album’s homespun roots.
The freedom of living where they recorded meant that Mapache could take their time experimenting with sounds and textures in the studio, a far cry from the way the LA duo captured their self-titled debut, which was cut live and raw around a single microphone. Praised by Aquarium Drunkard as sounding like “a blazed up Everly Brothers” and given a six-star review by UK magazine Shindig, that record helped the band earn festival appearances from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Pickathon, where Rolling Stone named their set one of the weekend’s top highlights, as well as tour dates with Chris Robinson, Beachwood Sparks, and Mandolin Orange among others. The Boston Globe hailed the duo’s “intricate, intertwined acoustic guitar and close harmonies wedded to simple, plainspoken lyrics,” while No Depression fell for their “lilting melodies,” and Saving Country Music declared that the pair “can fill up a room with more soul soaring harmony than most symphonic assemblies.” The music also caught the attention of veteran indie label Yep Roc Records, which recently reissued the group’s debut album in advance of From Liberty Street’s arrival.
While much has changed for the men of Mapache since that first album—the pair’s amped up tour schedule and newly inked record deal enabled both to leave their day jobs recently—their friendship remains much as it did in high school, when the two Los Angeles natives first met and bonded over a shared love of skateboarding and songwriting. After graduation, Finch headed north to study music at Chico State, while Blasucci headed south to Mexico, where he served as a missionary for two years and immersed himself in the local art and culture.
Though the album was captured at home on Liberty Street, many of the tunes first came to life on the road, where Blasucci and Finch have been spending more and more time lately. That increased level of itinerancy helped shape the restless spirit of the music, which reflects both the freedom and the isolation of a life spent in transit.
They may not live there anymore, but one thing’s for sure: Liberty Street will always be home for Mapache, and with this gorgeous new album, we’re all invited to visit.