Over the better part of the last four decades, Monte Warden and his songs have ebbed and flowed through the Austin music scene, influencing the city’s musical landscape as much as he’s been influenced by it. On June 19th, Warden proudly shared his critically acclaimed record Monte Warden & The Dangerous Few, which was cut live in two days at Austin's legendary Arlyn Studios. This album garners praises from outlets such as Glide Magazine, who declared, "The sound produced is enough to make you feel like you are in some smoky jazz club seeing this band perform live," and Austin Chronicle who applauded the album saying, "Warden's songs dance with the timelessness of his ageless tenor.." Other critics spotlight Warden's impressive transformation as an artist, like Americana Highways, who said, "He weaves in elements of big band sounds, vocal finesse and songs that tip their hat to the past but don't ever stay there." From the inception of The Wagoneers to having his songs cut by the likes of George Strait, Warden’s journey has taken quite a few turns but never meandered. The new album from Monte and his ace band of Austin musicians finds Warden, once again, expanding the boundaries of Americana. Monte Warden & The Dangerous Few is available today, click here to purchase.
Monte Warden & The Dangerous Few opens with “Black Widow,” a greasy trad-pop number accentuated by the smokey tones of muted trumpet and washy cymbals. Warden recalls, “This was the first song written for this project that fully encapsulated everything I envisioned: slinky, sexy, sophisticated and urbane.” This encapsulation is a result of an all-around team effort. In addition to the songs and instrumentation, Palermo and Telford share production credit with Tim Palmer (whose credits include U2, Pearl Jam, David Bowie) and Brandi Warden (multi-platinum music publisher, Monte’s co-writer, and wife). Visual artist Derek Yaniger provided the retro cover illustration.
“Martini” rollicks into the picture next, beautifully exemplifying the spirit of the project. “As we first started playing shows, new fans would come up & enthusiastically ask, ‘What do you call this music?!’ recalls Warden. “We described it as ‘martini music’.” When Brandi suggested they write a big, up-tempo ode to the martini, the crew jumped in the car, headed to Floyd Domino’s house and did their best “to just get the hell outta this song’s way.” The album continues, enthusiastically dancing around a common theme without being repetitive or tiresome, giving way to a big, gritty New Orleans burlesque feel in “Joy.” “When I was signed to A&M Records with The Wagoneers, I was given Herb Alpert’s (the label’s co-founder) entire catalog,” says Warden. “I was fascinated by the fact that each album featured one burlesque number; his thinking being that that cut would get played in the strip clubs! ‘Joy’ is my tribute to Mr. Alpert and those song arrangements.”
Monte Warden & The Dangerous Few continues to run the gamut of styles within a style. From the sweet waltz of “Anything But Love” to the album-closing “Wrong Side” which Warden describes as “something I felt could have been pitched to Sinatra for his 1955 quintessential album In The Wee Small Hours,” this album is a picture of Warden at his free-est, moving with the hustle of a city and turning heads as he briskly passes by. “For the first time in my career, there was no roadmap for me to follow, so I just allowed the songs to take me where they wanted to go,” says Warden, gratefully. “I feel this album captures this moment perfectly.”
Be sure to tune into the “Monte Warden Feel Good Hour” every Friday at 7pm CDT via https://www.facebook.com/montewarden.