Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bamboo Trading Compay Has Shrewd New Hit

The Bamboo Trading Company CD has "the soundtrack for the summer of 2013."

I have now lived long enough for it dawn on me, that the most interesting people in my life have always been the most creative. And one of the best of those is filmmaker Steve Latshaw, whom I met at WESH-TV in Orlando and who is now a Hollywood guy. He recently introduced me to a young man who helped do the music for his funny new film Return of the Killer Shrews. The young man in question is music producer, writer, arranger, and general organizer, David Beard.

Latshaw met Beard through his many contacts in the Beach Boys organization and thanks to his friendship with Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean fame. I don't know exactly how the connections worked (maybe I can get Steve to write about that) but it all brought forth some terrific tunes for Steve's wonderful film, and a whole CD more of summer fun.

I've been singing myself to happiness with the music since David Beard sent me the CD a week ago. As I'm driving around my beautiful California, I've been rockin' to this new sound, which has a teaspon of surf in it, a dash of sand, a shot glass of something wild, and it is all mixed together with harmony, rock, pop and lots of sunshine.

It has an impressive group behind it including Gary Griffin, Matt Jardine, Phillip Bardowell, Randell Kirsch, Chris English and Miami Dan Yoe (all of whom have various connections with the Beach Boys band, the Brian Wilson band, Jan and Dean band and the Surf City Allstars, among many other credits).  It also includes guest appearances on the Latshaw movie song "Shrewd Awakening," from Dean Torrence, James Best (look that guy up in imdb--he's been in everything!) and Bruce Davison. (Those last two are stars of the film as well.)

The track is produced as if the listener is getting into a little biplane and being shuttled to some sandy shore, so the song "Airborne" is used to open and close the festivities. I listened as it dissolved into "Kitty Hawk" a song that made me feel as if I were flying with Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, wearing a dashing silk scarf (but not that time he augered in). 

Some of the songs have an edge, as does "Star of the Beach," about an aging surfer. Others include a dash of satire in their search for romance as in "Tweet (Don't Talk Anymore)." Still others evoke the best of the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and Jimmy Buffet with a twist that is new, including "Drinkin' in The Sunshin" and "Tonga Hut" and the poignant "I Have Always Loved the Ocean." "Jericho" and "Don't Say Its Over" left me thoughtful, and "Haulin' Cargo" and "The Bamboo Trading Company Theme" had an new-oldies sound to them that had me tapping my toes. This was only a problem when I was driving.

The funny tune is "Shrewd Awakening" from Steve Latshaw's Return of the Killer Shrews and though you really have to see the movie to completely connect with its sly humor, if you haven't seen the film you'll find this a delightful tune in its own right.

I'm not a music critic, so I can only tell you what I like. This is a sound I like that the talent behind it calls "California sunshine pop with hits of jazz, country tweets Martin Denny and the hair of a shrew."

Its available on Amazon and as an Mp3 download. Give it a try!

(And here is a link to the music video of "Shrewd Awakening" for which I believe we can thank Steve Latshaw, David Beard, the great Dean Torrence, and an assortment of their interesting friends. And mine.)

Bamboo Trading Company and Killer Shrews!

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1 comment:

Steve Latshaw said...

I must add to this piece that my participation on this album was as an interested observer... and boy was I interested! Kudos to David and the band for this great music. We were lucky to have had this music in our movie. But the genius award must go to Gary Griffin... his production, arrangements, songwriting, amazing instrumental and vocal skills really shine on this project. Shrewd Awakening began as a wonderful Steely Dan meets Martin Denny mash-up that fit the movie perfectly. By the time Gary had layered on the lush lead vocals from Katie and Jillian Torrence, father Dean, Phil Bardowell plus Katelyn Reigel and Elizabeth Griffin (along with some "outrageous" comedy bits from himself, this was a true classic. I hope everyone checks it out. I listen to it every day in my truck. Sometimes twice.