New Music from Timeless Troubadours, MOJAVE RHYTHM Unadorned – Volume 2

By Lisa Lynn Morgan

Unadorned – Volume 2 is a second collection of favorite songs performed by hi-desert music icons Steven Lester and Bobby Furgo.

If you’ve ever known the contentment of kicking back on a front porch, overlooking a grand desert vista in the high Mojave as the sun sets into desert mountains, this is the exact soundtrack you’ll want playing in the background. If you haven’t, it will take you there. The compilation features songs by Lennon/McCartney, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Paxton, Steve Goodman, and others, all finessed as only Lester and Furgo can. These two could teach a master class on how to perfect a composition. The acoustic guitar, heartfelt vocals, and melodic violin runs bleed the dynamic grace and soul of a golden hour breeze. In fact, these very familiar, timeless songs may mean even more to you after you’ve heard Mojave Rhythm’s delivery.

“These songs from our duo performances, have been completely reworked into our own style, and done exactly as we do them in our shows,” explained Lester. “They are offered with all due respect to the original artists. We have published these original arrangements at the request of our audiences, and under the licenses and permissions of the original publishers. We hope you enjoy our unique twists on this great material.”

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Bobby Furgo has recorded, toured and/or performed with Eric Burdon and The Animals, Nancy Sinatra, Lee Hazelwood, Pat Boone, Love and Rockets, Grant Lee Buffalo, Dolly Parton, Freddy Fender, Gene Pitney, Hank Thompson, James Burton, Jim Dickinson, and Wanda Jackson. Most notably, he toured and recorded with the late, great, Leonard Cohen prior and during Cohen’s sudden launch out of obscurity. Cohen’s “Closing Time,” was written specifically for Furgo’s violin. He has made appearances at Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, played on Jay Leno, the Tonight Show, and the Grammy Award winning movie, The Wonder Boys. You can find him doing what he loves most, most of the time, with the music and memories of his dear friend still in his bones. Few musicians on this earth can play with the intuition and respect for the song as Bobby Furgo, and one can only assume Mr. Cohen saw that from the beginning. Most recently, Furgo has been found flexing his musical dexterity with local desert bands The Ghost Notes and Lisa Lynn & the Broken Hallelujahs when he’s not playing with Lester in Shadow Mountain Band, Mojave Rhythm, or hired by touring artists.

Steven Lester (aka: JT Easy) has written music for, produced, and played with The Boys Next Door, Jobriath, The Late Show, Wheels, The Shadow Mountain Band, and many more. He has collaborated artistically with Harry Nilsson, Paul Barrere, Al Kooper, The BGs, Harold Battiste (Sonny and Cher’s musical director), and has performed alongside the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Herman’s Hermits, The Hollies, Bobby Goldsboro, The Dirt Band, The Allman Brothers, Richie Havens, Paul Barrere of Little Feat, and many others.

“Around age 30, I gave up on rock ‘n’ roll stardom,” reminisced Lester. “I settled down to raise a family. I still toured occasionally but gave up on chasing the dream. I became a commercial photographer in the 90s to support the family, which was a very good move. I was able to buy and pay off Lester Flats in Joshua Tree, which is around 20 acres and houses our extended family and a few good friends. During the 90s, I hired out as a bass player in several different country bands just to keep up my chops and make a few extra bucks.”

“I formed Shadow Mountain Band in the early 2000s. In the mid 2000s, I formed ‘JAMS’, Joshua Tree Association of Musicians and Songwriters. In conjunction with that, I started the JAMS Newsletter, that went out to over 2,000 people (this was a bit before social media took off). Around the same time, I started the ‘Thursday Night Songwriting, Poetry and Rhythm Club’ at what was the Water Canyon Café in Yucca Valley. Since that time, Bobby Furgo and I have been playing as a duo and full band. I decided to start making recordings of our live duo sets when our audiences kept asking if they could buy copies of our music. Unadorned – Volume 2 is the second in a series, and I hope to do many more. Furgo and I have a chemistry that I have seldom had with other musicians. We play as one.”

“These days, my job is arranging the music and putting great players like Bobby in the spotlight. That is what I really love to do.”

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