New West Guitar Group is performing at the Cozmic Café, 594 Main St. in Placerville, on Friday, Aug. 23. The show is to celebrate the release of “Big City,” the group’s fifth studio album on Summit Records.
The Los Angeles-based trio grooves in “Big City,” a sophisticated sonic streetscape showcasing hot original tunes and captivating covers of Tears for Fears, Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and The Police.
Praised as “sharp and refined” by the Seattle Times, New West Guitar Group infuses its latest disc “Big City” with its signature blend of laid-back virtuosity and expert arrangements that “sometimes verge on the orchestral” (All Music Guide). The album is the group’s second released on Summit Records and drops on Sept. 10.
“Big City” is the follow-up to 2011s critically acclaimed “Round Trip Ticket.” This time, New West sets out to find serenity in the midst of a thriving, frenetic metropolis. With their infectious pulse and driving rhythms, original charts like “Every Big City,” “Inspiration Point, “Train Bump” and “Pacific Blues” capture the urban hustle, while the more tranquil tunes — “Mission Creek,” “Proud Day’s Work” and “Evergreen” — offer contemplative respite.
Intricate yet faithful covers of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (Tears for Fears), “All I Want” (Joni Mitchell), “Bleecker Street” (Simon and Garfunkel) and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” (The Police) surface throughout the disc.
The three members of New West — Perry Smith, Jeff Stein and John Storie — share composing and arranging credits on the album. Firmly rooted in classic jazz, the trio’s versatility as both players and composers has given them a reputation as pioneers in the realm of guitar ensemble repertoire.
“Big City” fully embraces an open-minded quality and showcases the group’s intimate understanding of the guitar’s melodic, harmonic, timbral and percussive capabilities. The sonic palette includes acoustic steel- and nylon-stringed instruments as well as electric guitars with ample effects, plus innovative strumming and fingerpicking techniques.
Since their earliest days as music students at the University of Southern California, the members of New West have tapped into straight-ahead jazz roots to develop a sound that embraces various shades of folk, country, rock and pop.
Over the years, New West Guitar Group has piled up numerous awards and accolades, and has enjoyed broad international exposure. Before they even left USC, they were the first group to receive the coveted Thornton Protégé Grant. During this same period, the Los Angeles Sister Cities Committee honored the group as musical ambassadors of L.A. — which in turn created the opportunity for them to perform at the 2005 World Exposition in Nagoya, Japan, and the 2007 German-American Volksfest in Berlin.
The group has continued to perform in major venues throughout the U.S. and Canada, Europe and Asia.
For more information about the appearance at the Cozmic Café call 530-642-8481.