Son of the Velvet Rat’s Ghost Ranch

Saturday, February 3 at 29 Palms Art Gallery

When we think of the term “force of nature,” our blunted, even traumatized sensibilities first imagine the most disastrous of Her efforts; tornados, earthquakes, wildfire, tsunami, and hurricanes. Often, we’ll apply this term to a human being; the overachiever, the psychic vampire, the posthumous negative creep who we deem a force of nature when we can’t think of anything nicer to say at their funeral.

Here, let us speak of the even rarer forces of nature who bring reassurance and calm without compromising their shadow sides; those who provide the option of cool shade to balance the scorching desert sun giving us life when it’s not overstaying its welcome.

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To many, Son of the Velvet Rat (SotVR) have defined our cycle of seasons here in the high desert. Though we are stubborn here, choosing to remain discontent holding on too tight to what we export/import only to create a dust-deviling insular vortex, we knew going into this that we must share SotVR with the Austrians.

When, in fact, Austria shares them with us.

Precisely why we must never take them for granted. SotVR are their own fifth season, a mysterious subnarrative we must listen to intently every chance we get starting in September because in March, they’re gone, man. With no falling leaves of changing colors here, I only know it’s truly Fall when Georg and Heike arrive. And when they depart, I know it’s time to dust off my wide brim and start drinking extra water.

“Can’t say why I must be going/it’s just something that I do.”
—A Deeper Shade of Blue

As if we’re replenished by our own perpetual yearning here, fueled by our own perpetual dissatisfaction: in summertime we complain, longing for winter; when winter comes, we shiver stuttering, vowing to never curse the sun again. And one of the most poignant traits of Son of the Velvet Rat—we spend half the year missing them, wondering what they’re doing, what they’ll do next.

Which brings us to their new album, Ghost Ranch, one of Son of the Velvet Rat’s most bare-boned albums to date that seems to pre-emptively make up for lost time. With stripped down instrumentation and arrangements, there’s a campfire intimacy to Georg and Heike’s hushed confessionals, which makes them feel like they’re right there with you, even when they’re not. Continuing the divinitive standard of songwriting, these eleven new pieces communicate predestination; a familiarity you can’t quite place yet leaving us with that inexplicable feeling they’ve always been around.

Son of the Velvet Rat’s new album, Ghost Ranch, was recorded at Red Barn Recorders in Morongo Valley/CA and co-produced by Gar Robertson with Jay Bellerose on drums, Jennifer Condos on bass. It features Jolie Holland on backing vocals and violin. Marc Ribot guests on electric guitar.

A Pre-Release Party is being held at Spaghetti Western, February 3, 2024, at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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