Summerlong is the sophomore record from Ripley Johnson’s Rose City Band. Already a staple in the psychedelic world as leader of Wooden Shjips and part of Moon Duo, Summerlong takes Johnson’s Rose City Band moniker to new heights and moves beyond his simpler 2019 self-titled debut which was much more focused on getting lost in the wandering guitar. Summerlong finds the road, travels down it with purpose and turns into a country-tinged psychedelic record which can make the summer go all year long!
That clarity on Summerlong is where Rose City Band shines as this record features more instruments like well placed pedal steel and mandolin as well more defined song structures. The just over 5-minute boogie in “Real Long Gone” is a perfect example as it has a clear beginning, middle and end. Before, Rose City Band would let every piece of a track sorta blend but here there is some excellent guitar work executed around Johnson’s soft vocals. He lets the psych country roll and generally offers up a good time that not only comes of as care free but truly sincere. Music for the people.
Rose City Band has created a timeless country rock record that only gets better as you sit with it. Honestly, this album could have been released in any decade and its controlled laid back vibe is its hidden bait. Experienced psychedelia guitar is what Johnson really offers on Summerlong and he executes every warm sun baked groove with a true love for the genre. That sincerity is what makes every song on Summerlong a keeper and this release one of the surprises of 2020.
Key Tracks: “Only Lonely” / “Real Long Gone” / “Wildflowers”
Artists With Similar Fire: William Tyler / Grateful Dead / Woods
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde
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