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The Deslondes

Bringing their own style of down-home, rootsy twang to the home of the blues, the Deslondes are a band of rough but tuneful troubadours who found their voice when they settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. The band's music is laid-back but committed, with a groove that pulls together their influences in country, blues, rock & roll, and swamp pop, along with a lyrical warmth and honesty. The group's first two albums, 2015's The Deslondes and 2017's Hurry Home, capture their loosely tight approach with naturalistic studio technique, and 2022's Ways & Means, cut after a hiatus, fills out their arrangements and adds additional instrumental flavors without spoiling their easygoing vibe. The story of the Deslondes began when singer and guitarist Sam Doores and percussionist and singer Cameron Snyder met while the two were college students in the Pacific Northwest. Both were interested in music, and Doores found a potent source of fresh inspiration when he read Woody Guthrie's memoirs, Bound for Glory. Doores and Snyder decided to quit school and hit the road, doing some hard traveling with their band the Broken Wing Routine, and they even landed a gig at Woodyfest, also known as the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, an annual event in Okemah, Oklahoma. While in Okemah, Doores and Snyder met some like-minded musicians, including singer and guitarist Riley Downing and bassist Dan Cutler. When the Broken Wing Routine splintered, Doores and Cutler headed to New Orleans and formed a country-influenced band called the Tumbleweeds; Snyder, meanwhile, was playing with the Longtime Goners when he met John James Tourville, who played fiddle and pedal steel. In time, Snyder, Tourville, and Downing all made their way to New Orleans, and began jamming with the Tumbleweeds at their practice spot, an abandoned high school in the Lower Ninth Ward that had been empty since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The five musicians adopted a new band name, the Deslondes, taken from a street in the Lower Ninth's Holy Cross neighborhood, and they found kindred spirits in another New Orleans outfit, Hurray for the Riff Raff, with Doores and Cutler performing in both groups for a while. Between developing a loyal following at home and impressing audiences on the road opening for Hurray for the Riff Raff, word began to spread about the Deslondes, and New West Records signed them to a recording contract, releasing their self-titled debut album in June 2015. After supporting their eponymous first album with a tour, the Deslondes returned in the summer of 2017 with Hurry Home. The sophomore LP got solid reviews, and the group once again hit the road, but they were growing tired of touring, and John James Tourville and Dan Cutler wanted to spend more time with their families, so the Deslondes chose to take a break. During their hiatus, Sam Doores cut a solo album, 2020's Sam Doores, while Riley Downing also brought out an album of his own, 2021's Start It Over. The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for Doores and Downing to promote their releases, and with time on their hands, Tourville reached out to his bandmates and persuaded them to get together and make new music. Gathering at a club in New Orleans for writing and rehearsal sessions, they emerged with 14 new songs and booked time at Bomb Shelter Studio with producer and engineer Andrija Tokic. The result was their third album, Ways & Means, which was released by New West Records in July 2022.
© Mark Deming /TiVo


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