Sometimes music emanates from unexpected places. Zephaniah Ohora, in this case, delivers one of the most classic sounding country albums this side of Nashville, Bakersfield, Austin, or any other likely place you’d care to name. These are 21st-century songs about urban landscapes with an authentic classic country approach, played by a multi-generational band assembled by Ohora and the late guitarist singer-songwriter Neal Casal. As such, this represents one of Casal’s last projects. Ohora’s voice evokes Merle Haggard’s so it is only fitting that they tapped Norm Hamlet from Haggard’s band along with Mickey Raphael from Willie Nelson’s band. In addition, there are three of Casal’s long -time associates and some of NYC’s best players such as Jon Graboff on pedal steel and resonator. There are 14 listed in the credits backing Ohora.
This is Ohora’s second album, having turned the heads of many country-leaning Americana artists with his debut, This Highway. It was at the album release party for that one when Ohora met Casal and eventually began to work on the album with the players they had recruited. Working from a Brooklyn studio, they laid down a dozen tracks in just four days and took another week to add the finishing touches. Mixing completed at the end of April 2019 and Casal passed unexpectedly just a few months later, in August 2019