7HorseSongs For A Voodoo Wedding (Self-Released)
I’m not sure what I was expecting based on the cover shot, but this isn’t it. Joie Calio and Phil Leavitt are the driving forces behind this duo, and were inspired by a true voodoo wedding they attended. However, it sounds more like they got lost on the way home and wandered into a blues bar with plenty of Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in the jukebox. The large amount of riffs and gritty rock aren’t in short supply here, and there’s the occasional Americana moment where the band really shine, making this both classic and soulful influenced rock that warrants repeated listens. (Tom Haugen)
On July 25 at 7AM CT, 7Horse will be special guests on MANCOW show.
CMC-TV in the Bay area has added the “Flying High” (With No ID)” video to its Country Playlist:
Every Time It Rains James House Victor House
Can You Do This Neal McCoy
It Was Love Now It's War Bonnie Paul
Flying High (With No ID) 7horse 7Horse Music, LTD.
Click here to check the playlist.
Joie Calio and Phil Leavitt play the sort of rough around the edges blues-rock that sounds both modern and retro, and seems to be as influenced by The Stones as much as today’s version of Americana. Adept at both speedy classic rock as well as simmering and soulful, it’s pretty clear these guys have a wealth of talent and aren’t spreading themselves too thin. Imagine The Black Keys on steroids. Inforty.com
We introduced you to 7Horse back in May and thought that it would be great to get to know a little bit more about the band, this time in their own words. Joie was brave enough to take us up on the offer of an interview and we’re very glad to now be able to share it with you. When you’re done reading what Joie has to say, make sure to check out the band’s sites and their music.
W: Which group or artist would you personally like to induct into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame? And if you were to earn the honor of being inducted next year, whom would you want to induct you?
JC: I notice that Eric Clapton is in on his own but not Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. Both are massively influential outside of their groups and deserve individual recognition, as does Clapton. I would also say Sonny Boy Willimson ~ one listen to Bring It On Home at volume and you will see why. Of course I would be honored to ever be considered for such an esteemed award ~ and Keith Richards would be my choice to bring 7Horse up to the podium.
What’s the strangest gift any fan has given…or tried to give…you?
A matchbook full of long used fingernails with a different picture of me on each one.
Which do you find more difficult/intimidating ~ performing for a comparatively small audience (especially one that you know includes family and/or friends) in a more intimate venue or for a huge [faceless/anonymous] crowd at an enormous stadium?
I guess smaller is harder than bigger. But some small crowds can be great. Too large is tough to get everyone’s attention but it’s fun to try.
Do you have a collection of vinyl or cassettes? If you have vinyl, which is your most cherished album?
I always hated cassettes. I do have some vinyl 12″ and 7″. Probably my original The Rolling Stones 7″ picture sleeve of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on Decca is one of my favorites. Have some cool 12″ including Billy J. Kramer, Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.
If you ever decided to do an entire album of covers, which songs would make the cut?
“Train Kept a Rollin” (Johnny Burnette), “Before You Accuse Me (Bo Diddley),” “Baby Please Don’t Go” (Them), “Little Red Riding Hood” (Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs), “Sweet Little Rock ‘n Roller” (Rod Stewart), “On The Road Again” (Canned Heat), “Branded Man” (Merle Haggard)
Any musically inclined siblings?
7H-My siblings are all much smarter than me but I got the music gene. My father and grandfather both had musical talent. My mother had the art gene. I got a nice blend of the two. Don’t have a great grasp on quantum physics though.
Do the two of you in the band have nicknames for each other?
They’re top secret.
Are there any causes/organizations that are particularly close to your heart that you would encourage the public to support?
There are so many great causes but I am partial to fighting cancer and hunger.
Do you [pardon the phrase] have the balls to do what the Red Hot Chili Peppers did and perform wearing just tube socks? And if your answer is yes, are you willing to have your photo taken in those “outfits” and shown to FlashWounds’ readers?
It doesn’t necessarily take “balls” per se, but it’s been done now and is sort of their trade mark. We took a chance and gave ourselves over to the fantastically imaginative Portland artist/photographer Smith Eliot for the cover art and package of our new record Songs For a Voodoo Wedding. We let it all go and when she said, “Take it off,” we went with it and showed a little skin. I love how it all turned out. Not quite Chili Pepper-esque, but it’s not like anyone else’s cover either.
The “Flying High (With No ID)” video has been added to an upcoming episode of the syndicated MusicMix USA video show. The show the video is in should start running the week of July 28th. Check your local listings to see the show.
7Horse began as a hypothetical: What if, longtime band mates Joie Calio and Phil Leavitt thought, we bury our musical past and see if we can discover Rock 'n' Roll's Ground Zero? That question having been explored in bold fashion on their 2011 debut 'Let the 7Horse Run,' the blues duo returns with an even deeper sense of purpose on the follow-up, 'Songs for a Voodoo Wedding' (available everywhere now). The larger question: What if the mission were not to locate rock 'n' roll's chewy center, but to find and channel their own personal identities?
'I'm a grown man with wants and needs and temptations and faults, and I'm not gonna be afraid to write about any of it,' says Leavitt, the singer/drummer whose sometimes-bawdy, always-honest narratives are filtered through an array of vintage microphones. 'Everybody now wants to tell you how sensitive they are. Enough of that. Where's the attitude? Where's the swagger? If we can be a two-man Rolling Stones, I say we go for it.'
Adds Calio, who spent much of his career as a bassist before refining the finger-picking and slide skills asked of a blues guitarist: 'I feel like on a base level this is what I'm all about as a human being. I feel like we've found a renewable source of energy.'
It's all the more remarkable considering 7Horse started as a trial balloon, with Calio and Leavitt exchanging riffs, lyrics and song sketches via iPhone from their homes in Seattle and Los Angeles, respectively. Those ideas in hand, the pair blew through studio sessions that saw them arrange, refine and record one song per day. The results coursed with rawness and immediacy, and it's a process they replicated in making 'Songs for a Voodoo Wedding.'
Part of what informed the sophomore album, however, was the 'quality' time Calio and Leavitt spent together in the interim. Though accustomed to touring in the relative luxury of a bus for much of their careers, the pair piled into a van to tour the U.S. behind their first record. On the vehicle's stereo for most of the slog: The masters, such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Merle Haggard, along with early blues legends such as Little Walter.
'The more country we listened to, the more it percolated in me,' Calio says. 'On the first record we were just creating the essence of the band right there in the studio and we had no well to go to. Now we have a really good idea of what we want to tap into.'
It was during the time between albums that 7Horse received the phone call that would change their lives - at least, the life of their new project. It was from a representative of director Martin Scorsese, saying that the single 'Meth Lab Zoso Sticker' was being considered for use in the film 'The Wolf of Wall Street.'
'Every night we were out playing like it was our last show, lugging our gear, putting our nose to the grindstone,' Calio says. 'The movie was not a sure thing, but we weren't going to sit around waiting for the phone to ring. We kept looking forward.'
The song ended up with a nice cameo in the movie, as well as an appearance in the trailer. 'There's a certain level of validation when Martin Scorsese thinks your song is good enough for his movie,' Calio says. 'That was the proverbial shot in the arm. We weren't looking for it, but we had done everything right. We'd worked our asses off. And sometimes stuff like that comes to you.'
The unfinished business of making 'Songs for a Voodoo Wedding' awaited, and Leavitt and Calio attacked it with vigor. Sessions for the album were divided between three locales - In the Pocket Studios in Forestville, Calif.; Sage & Sound Recording in Hollywood; and Third Ward Records in Milwaukee. Each of the album's 11 tracks were recorded live, with as little overdubbing as possible, with Jon Chi, Scott Gordon, Gregory Haldan and the band co-producing. The album was mixed by Dave Way and mastered by Howie Weinberg.
Much of the inspiration for the record came thanks to an actual voodoo wedding - some friends of Leavitt, in renewing their vows, staged one in New Orleans. The Big Easy is a city the drummer had visited often while on tour, but he'd never spent considerable time there. 'It got the juices flowing,' Leavitt said. 'You hear about how great New Orleans is, what a mecca it is . It's all true. It's exactly what I was looking for.'
Leavitt drew from the trip to conjure up the initial idea for the album's first single, the country-fried 'Flying High (With No ID).' Imagine negotiating airport security 1) having left your driver's license at home, and 2) sucking on a cannabis lollipop. It adds a whole new meaning to reaching cruising altitude.
Other songs found their spark in the simple explorations of off-the-beaten-path New Orleans, the sights and sounds of which gave the co-writers plenty of fodder. 'It's inspiring just to walk down the streets there,' Leavitt says. 'You are just overcome by the sense of freedom, and to embrace life. There's a spirit you can't find anywhere else.'
The Stonesy 'Carousel Bar' was born during tours of the French Quarter. The pugilistic 'Some MF' pulses with grooves inspired by the Rebirth Brass Band. And 'Headhunter Blues' is testosterone-charged chin music with a baseball metaphor - 'You're comin' up and in on me' represents an unflinching batter's reaction to a high-and-inside fastball.
As if 'Songs for a Voodoo Wedding' doesn't sound boozy enough, there's a song the duo hatched about Leavitt's favorite drink, the predictably woozy 'So Old-Fashioned.' Then there's the other side, 'Before the Flood,' a paean to the inevitable hangover.
But it's the almost-boyish enthusiasm with which Leavitt and Calio undertook the album that shines through. One night during the Forestville sessions, Leavitt had an ah-ha moment and rushed out of bed toward the studio - only to run face-first into a sliding glass door, busting up his nose. On a side trip to San Francisco, Leavitt became smitten with a street musician playing a cane flute, so he asked the man to give him a lesson, recording it on his iPhone, naturally. Then he bought a cane flute and incorporated it into a song. And the album-closing ditty 'A Friend in Weed' ('is a friend indeed' goes the rest of chorus) was written on the fly for a gig at a music festival in the town of Weed, Calif.
From Calio's dirty blues licks to Leavitt's earnest, unadorned vocals, 'Songs for a Voodoo Wedding' sounds like the work of two guys who've turned over the soil and found the roots. In other hands, the barebones rocker 'I Know the Meaning of Rock 'N Roll' would sound like an audacious declaration, but, as they say in country circles, this is not the duo's first rodeo.
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When he's not busy writing a sick track ("Meth Lab Zoso Sticker") for a Martin Scorsese blockbuster like The Wolf of Wall Street, guitar virtuoso Joie Calio is tearing up stages with his musical partner Phil Leavitt in the rock band 7Horse. While Calio also provides backing vocals to Leavitt, it's his fret work that truly allows him to shine. Just how does he get those crazy tones and bad-ass rhythms you ask? Dude, he has SO much gear that he'll have to tell you himself! What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound? Calio: I am a gear freak - there's no denying that. To say that there is one piece of gear that I use as a signature sound would be tough - I have a few guitars (7 that I'm touring with), lots of pedals, a couple amps, and we record at studios that are a vintage gear-head's dream. But, having said that... being the rhythm and lead guitar (without a bass player live) forces me to play a certain way, as well as my fingerstyle and slide playing. Having one of the greatest drummers in the world - Phil Leavitt, helps too. Using great amps and guitars (vintage and new) in general is a big part of my sound. Also really like Curt Mangan strings - they sound great and are super high quality. What about it makes it so important to you? Calio: I can tell if someone has used good gear, or cool gear when they record. You know when a guitar player cares about his/her tone. I strive to be that guy.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album? Calio: I have a Bogner Shiva 20th anniversary (KT88) amp that I got just before 7Horse started our second record - Songs For a Voodoo Wedding - that sounds amazing; it has a plexy vibe. I combined that with a '58 Bassman or 1965 Fender Vibroluxe or 1965 Fender Deluxe. Also used a Fender a Bassbreaker in the mix for a song.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set? Calio: I use a lot of the same gear I record with for our live show. As I mentioned I have a Bogner Shiva 20th Anniversary paired with a Bogner 2x12. I also have a Matchless Clubman paired with a Matchless 2x12. I run both rigs at all times. They do a great job of getting my studio sounds live. Although I have been eyeing a Metropoulos GPM 45 Bluesbreaker 2x12 combo for a possible 3rd amp live. Same Curt Mangan strings as well.
What are the major pros and cons? Calio: The pros speak for themselves. The cons - not cheap! Although I do get help from Gretsch, Bogner, Matchless, National, and Curt Mangan. The guys at Wildwood Guitars in Louisville CO help me out immensely as well.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what? Calio: The fact that've have 2 amps with 2 x12 cabs live means I have a back up right there. My goal is to have a back-up head for each rig and of course - more guitars.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it? Calio: I started collecting my gear at the beginning of 7Horse. First I got my Fender '51 Tele Nocaster Custom Shop. Then I got my first National NPR. I already had my Gibson j-45 which I used on the recording of "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker" - the song used for the Scorsese movie The Wolf of Wall Street, along with my Gretsch Silver Falcon. Then because we started using a few different tunings I needed to have coverage live so I wouldn't need to retune all night long.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear? Calio: At the moment I have 3 Gretsch Guitars - 6136 White Falcon/6136 Silver Falcon/G6139 Black Falcon Center Block Double Cutaway. A Fender '51 Telecaster Custom Shop. A Gibson ES 330 VOS. 2 National NRP resonators-Green Burst/ Silver. A Fender Telecaster Baritone. And my trust Gibson j-45. Along with the Bogner, Matchless, and a nice stash of pedals... I'd have to say I'm living the dream!
“7Horse make sweet music on ‘Songs for a Voodoo Wedding’”—Pittsburgh In Tune
“They have a unique sound with skill behind it. It's a refreshing meld of influences in a danceable upbeat dark rock” --The Examiner
“Songs for a Voodoo Wedding’ are back alley tales, gin joint anecdotes and street corner legend with throw back blues playing which would make Robert Johnson stand up and profess his love to 7Horse” – Innocent Words
”their musical chemistry is clear throughout the album” – Celebrity Café
“Glorious noise” – Campus Circle
“an earthy batch of blues-rockin' cosmic Americana that will appeal to fans of other duos like the Black Keys, or going back a ways, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper” – AntiMusic
” 7Horse has already cast the spell for you with their album “Songs for a Voodoo Wedding” –Examiner.com
“7Horse delivers a commendably intense, vibrant and complex album with Songs For A Voodoo Wedding, and in doing so they clearly mark out their space and dare any to approach. Great individual songwriting is the foundation of everything they do and their instrumental style follows their thoughts into new, dark and outrageous spaces. Classics to the core” – Rust Magazine
“This “take no shit” persona is what makes 7Horse so bad ass and have swing... Rock n’ Roll is supposed to swing!” – RockBandsofLA
“7Horse, embarked on their journey into cosmic country and dirty blues” -BuzzBandsLA
“Filled with the gritty rock vocals mixed with sweet blues melodies and soulful lyrics, 7Horse has produced an amazing record that speaks to the soul” – On Request Magazine
“Crafting intelligent and astounding rock” -The Desert News
Returning to the town that gave them birth, 7HORSE are back in LA to play this coming Sunday. It's a warmup gig for their national tour in support of their new album, SONGS FOR A VOODOO WEDDING, in the intimate confines of Molly Malones, 575 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. If you haven't heard the new album yet, just click here. It's been an eventful year for 7Horse - their song "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker got a HUGE lift from it's use in Martin Scorsese's film THE WOLF OF WALL STREET; they've had prominent licenses with shows like HART OF DIXIE and RIZZOLI & Isles; another song in a Jeep Wrangler commercial; and a new single, "Flying High (With No ID)" steadily climbing the TripleA radio charts. Still, there's nothing they like more than bringing their blend of country-fried swampadelic rock to the stage and letting a crowd tap into the pulsing motherlode that is rock 'n' roll. Why don't y'all c'mon out and join us on Sunday? Just say the word and a spot on the guest list is yours!! They play at 9:30PM - not so early that it'll mess up your supper, not so late that you need to miss the 11:20 sports report. Hope to see you there!!