Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Being in the middle of reading a historical retrospective about the Laurel Canyon neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills, brings different and more ripe associations and perspectives to the music of a newer Los Angeles folk rock band that goes by the name of Truth & Salvage Co. The band's name conjures thoughts of the short-lived resale store, the Great Linoleum Clothing Experiment, out there in the once free-spirited and exasperatingly fertile and glorious hills, targeted by all of the longhairs and flower children groupies. It was in the mid-to-late 1960s, out there in that safe haven of California where an entire neighborhood's residents revolutionized the songwriting process and the way that artists live and work with one another, thereby creating some of the most celebrated songs in history, and hence becoming qualified millionaires. It was a time when drifters lived in caves in Frank Zappa's backyard, when they were gladly welcomed into the endless parties that went on in this cove of sophisticated visionaries and students of the art of writing and harmony, where there was an open-door policy at any hour of the day until Charles Manson and his evil family ruined everything. It was a time when historic acts like Crosby, Stills & Nash could form in the backyard of another superstar's home, on a lark, and suddenly sell 10 million albums, becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. It seems as if Truth & Salvage Co., this six-piece of shaggy, wood-working, calloused-handed young men from the same general vicinity, come from this very same generation, where everything's been preserved the way it once was and anyone who would like to get in on a jam, who might have a lick to play or a line for the next verse was welcome to join in. The music that these guys make is akin to those effortless and transfixing rushes of copious amounts of love, cheap wine and nothing stopping them. There's a feeling that the days that Truth & Salvage Co. spend are days that don't have to end, as if they're bottomless and therefore able to stand seeing where any melody or any song takes them. The four songs found here, most likely to be featured on the band's debut full-length set to come sometime next year, sound as if there were each cut from one piece of cloth, the pair of scissors never stopping to pause, just snipping out the profile and adding all of the flare and trimmings as they went. They are songs that are more soul and R&B numbers than those of the golden years of Laurel Canyon, borrowing more or at least equally from the quiver of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding as they do from The Byrds or Lovin' Spoonful. But they have a communal feel, the bumping bass of "She Really Does It For Me" and the grainy and great "Rise Up," share relations with those songs of lore, that were written in an hour, on a porch as the sounds of new albums like "Rubber Soul" were being cranked on every turntable, within and out of sight. The band, as a community, sings on "Rise Up," about getting out of bed in the morning and letting the sun shine down on them as they stretch the stiffness out of their limbs and grimace as they smack open a yawn of morning breath bitterness. The gentle reminder, a sort of mantra is sprinkled throughout the song, beamed out with such passion and diligence, with Tim Jones, Walker Young, Scott Kinnebrew and Bill Smith (keyboard player Adam Grace and bassist Joe Edel fill out the rest of the lineup) humming the sweetness, "Put a little love in it/Put a little faith in it/Put a little love in your heart." And with that little line, we're being taught what a tie-dyed shirt is. We'd never heard of such a thing.
Truth & Salvage Co. Official Site