As you might be able to tell from their luxurious beards, vests and fedoras, Cordovas are a throwback roots rock band, recalling the “good ol’ days” of jean jackets, joints and riding into the sunset like Jack Nicholson. They’re often compared to the Dead circa American Beauty but their Nashville harmonies are as slick as beard oil compared to anything Garcia & Co. ever recorded (OK, Shakedown Street was basically ABBA for hippies, but I digress…)
With only 9 songs over 29 minutes, their latest album, That Santa Fe Channel doesn’t leave much room for getting weird, though “Frozen Rose” has a nice little jam at the end. There’s a bit of straight ahead Southern rock too, like “Standin on the Porch,” which repeats the refrain, “standin on the porch with a gun in his hands just because he can” over a swampy J.J. Cale groove.
Although decently enjoyable, the album is a generic mashup of its influences. They throw in some Southern rock spice, a little Laurel Canyon sugar, a bit of Woodstock sage and classic country salt into the blender, but this sauce is bland, with none but of the flavor of their heroes.
Maybe it’s because the frontman was the bandleader for Late Night with Carson Daily, but it reminds me of a Hollywood take on a “really cool, authentic, bearded bro band that can be sold to banks for commercials.” Maybe I’m just an old grouch, but I’ll stick with the classics over the Cordovas.