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Rockin’ roots: Rob Larkin & The Wayward Ones take Paso

Posted: Monday, Nov 7th, 2011

DEEP ROOTS – inspired by country/ Americana greats Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris and Merle Haggard, Rob Larkin and the Wayward Ones add a dash of soulful roots rock (think The Band, The Wood Brothers and The Black Keys) and just a pinch of classic Sly and The Family Stone grooviness to their rich sound. The L.A.-based group will rock the Pour House in Paso Robles on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. and again on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Last Stage West in Atascadero. Pictured above, the group’s recent release, “Dogwood Roots.”

Los Angeles-based outfit Rob Larkin & The Wayward Ones are preparing to unleash their potent blend of feel-good Americana, soul and roots-rock funkiness on North County this week.

The band is slated to perform at The Pour House in Paso Robles at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. The live music hot spot, which features a range of specialty beers, is located at 1331 Vendels Circle, near Firestone Walker Brewery.

After a show in Santa Maria on Friday, the group will return to North County, rocking the Last Stage West in Atascadero on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Larkin's busy promoting his May release, “Dogwood Roots,” a fresh twist on classic Americana stylings. The title track has been nominated for Best Americana Song in the upcoming 2011 Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

According to fans, the album successfully walks the line between old and new with plenty of soul to spare. The result is a rich, well-worn sound with some teeth to it.

Larkin said the sound resonates with listeners.

“There's something about [roots] music that just brings you back. It gives you this feeling. It's deep, and it's connected to generations,” he said. “We're doing something new and edgy, but we also think a lot of people are looking for that feeling.”

Larkin said he was grateful to recruit some of the best musicians in LA to lend their talents to the album.

The core band formed when award-winning singer/songwriter and guitarist Larkin linked up with drummer Pete DeCoste, who has toured the world and recorded with legendary artists such as blues greats Bo Diddley, Hubert Sumlin and Paul Butterfield. Talented bassist and vocalist D. Jennings brought his southern gospel-inspired feel to the group.

DeCoste and Larkin will showcase a stripped down duo at the upcoming gigs.

DeCoste, currently down with an illness, will rejoin the tour in due time.

“When the album was done, I just wanted to put a band together to start taking the show on the road, and naturally, these guys hit it off personally, and we just clicked musically,” Larkin said.

Each member of the trio holds his own, and there’s no need for just “one front man,” he added. Everyone brings their own color to the sound.

“There’s something to say about harmonies that blend perfectly, like The Temptations, but there's also something to be said about being able to hear the character of everyone's voice,” he said.

There’s nothing slick or overproduced about the band’s sound or vision. “We all love the classic roots [music], but also country and soul and bringing it all together. There's a lot of great music out now, but we're about bringing it back to the really rootsy stuff and soulful music that just feels good,” Larkin said. “Americana, to me, is just this warm feeling.”

The group hopes to share that warm feeling with locals during their upcoming dates. Larkin said those in the mood to dance will enjoy the live performances.

“We like playing music that shows the range, with mellow, slow stuff but we also get rowdy,” he said. “We get into it.”

A longtime songwriter, the tunes run the gamut, from hitting the road to self-discovery.

Larkin summed up the subject matter with a dash of humor.

“It’s the beauty and craziness of real life.” The musician is glad to finally be playing some shows on the Central Coast – a place he's fond of and wants to continue to visit.

The artist’s work as an environmentalist led him from the East Coast to California years ago.

“I landed in Santa Barbara, and then I spent a whole lot of time on the Central Coast in San Luis Obispo County,” he said.

One project in particular allowed Larkin to get in touch with local ranchers in a personal way.

“[The ranchers and farmers] have totally different ways of doing what they do, but they all work on these beautiful landscapes, and it’s just a real tradition going back generations,” he said. “I just got really interested in the land and the people. The diversity, the different types of towns, the coast and then going into the Salinas Valley there's just a lot of farming – I got really interested in the area and always hoped I'd have more of a reason to come back and spend some time.”

Larkin’s wish has come true.

“We really want to build a strong presence in the Central Coast,” he said. “I've always loved the region, and I think our music suits it well.”

For more information, or to hear and purchase tracks off “Dogwood Roots,” visit www.roblarkinmusic.com or find them on Facebook.

For the complete article see the 11-08-2011 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-08-2011 paper.

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