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April 2024
Vol. 23, No. 7

CD Reviews

WOOKIE GARCIA: 4 Days in the Valley

by Emily BartellApril 2024

Wookie Garcia’s new album, 4 Days in the Valley, conjures up images from a mature perspective. Reflecting on times long past where the Golden Rule was a biproduct of the American Dream and the randomness of life and the complex realities of the human experience, respecting the individual, striving toward personal visions and goals without expectations of conformity to another’s rule or standards. It contains a series of similar sounding, yet musically differing songs, most of which are appealing from a technical and entertaining standpoint. The 12 tracks on this album are chock full of infectious melodies and simple, yet effective song writing. They all share a very laid-back atmosphere while their greatest strengths lie in the emotions they trigger. The entire album highlights the band’s ability to tell a story of everyday life, while exposing one’s individuality through life’s experiences and aspirations. Wookie Garcia maintains a tight performance throughout each of the tracks, connecting each moment together superbly.

Beginning with “Man on a Tightrope,” a distinct guitar riff delicately guides the listener as the observer, with panic and trepidation over what they themselves cannot comprehend. While the exhibitor, having worked long and hard, exudes confidence as they accomplish their goals to the amazement of their audience.

“When the Sky Fell Down” is a far poppier song, which bounces along over the top of the guitars and sounds happier than the lyrics portray. Written in metaphors, its intention is to describe a great divide between those who still abide by the principles of ethics and morals and those who are determined to make them irrelevant and meaningless.

Some other songs like “Salvation Mountain,” crowned by the gospel touch of the Hammond Organ and “Empty Out My Head” deal with one’s individuality alongside the public collective. The latter of the two actually reminds us that sometimes no response is the best course of action.

The album varies between fast paced, catchy tracks such as “When the Sky Fell Down” and “HOA Man” as well as slower, more emotional offerings such as  “Thirty Feet of Steel,” “Times Remembered,” “Last Cowboy Standing,” and the beautiful ballad “Meter and Rhyme” without disrupting the flow of the album.

My favorites, a brilliantly upbeat and catchy, biographical account of San Diego native, Tom Waits, “Where the Trees Reach the Sky,” power driven by Kyle Ince on guitar with the perfect balance of instrumentation and backing vocals. And the free, whimsical, yet ironic and bursting with creativity song,“Holiday for Sharks,” has sharp, energetic guitar that serves to add both rhythm and extra depth.

4 Days in the Valley is a fun album to sit back and chill out to. Brian Sharkey’s lower-ranged vocals fit this slant, as he sounds almost care free in his delivery. Technically speaking, Sharkey’s vocal efforts complement the contributions of the other band members, conveying the listenable, laid-back attitudes of the album. The album’s greatest strengths lie in the emotions it awakens. Despite the slight musical differences between the tracks, even in the catchier moments, Wookie Garcia’s sensibilities provide the listener with quite a relaxing listening experience.

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