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The Los Angeles group GospelbeacH's sound harks back to several eras of California music, from folk-rock and sunshine pop to country-rock and the Paisley Underground. Fronted by Brent Rademaker of Beachwood Sparks and filled out by like-minded friends, the band debuted with an album that respectfully lifted the spirit and sound of early-'70s Grateful Dead (2015's Pacific Surf Line), then jumped ahead a few years to the jangling pop of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers on 2017's Another Summer of Love. By 2019, they'd added lush, Laurel Canyon-inspired vibes to the mix on third LP Let It Burn and took a detour into bubblegum and glam on the 2021 EP Jam Jam. The band formed in 2014 around vocalist and guitarist Brent Rademaker, who in the '90s and 2000s had made a name for himself in the bands Beachwood Sparks, Further, and the Tyde. Rademaker had grown disenchanted with music as a career after the release of Beachwood Sparks' 2012 album The Tarnished Gold, and spent a few years in Florida, where he worked at a gallery framing artwork. But after Rademaker reconnected with drummer Tom Sanford, who had played in an early lineup of Beachwood Sparks, the two began jamming together for fun and Rademaker felt the urge to form a new band to play the songs he'd been writing with Sanford. Back in California, Rademaker and Sanford got in touch with guitarist and singer Neal Casal, another former member of Beachwood Sparks who had also launched a solo career when not busy recording and touring with Ryan Adams & the Cardinals and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. To fill out the lineup, the three musicians brought in a pair of friends, bassist Kip Boardman and guitarist Jason Soda, both of whom had been part of the Watson Twins' backing band, while Soda was also a member of Everest. Word about the new group began to spread before the bandmembers had even settled on a name, and they were approached by Patrick Boissel of Alive Naturalsound Records, who not only offered to release an album by them (the label had previously worked with Beachwood Sparks), but suggested the band name GospelbeacH, which reflected their musical passion as well as their California heritage and style. Rademaker and Soda teamed up with Scott Hackwith to produce the group's first album, and GospelbeacH's debut, Pacific Surf Line, was released in October 2015. The combo's debt to the Grateful Dead and their interlocking guitar sound was clear, but by the time of their second record, 2017's Another Summer of Love, they had switched gears. With Soda behind the board again and keyboardist Jonny Niemann joining him, Rademaker and a wide range of friends, including vocalist Miranda Lee Richards, streamlined their jam band sound and displayed their deep knowledge of the pop teachings of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers while retaining their warm West Coast soul. Songs recorded at this session but not used on the album, and a handful of songs recorded at a London concert in 2017, were combined to make up the group's late-2018 release Another Winter Alive. A more pastoral Laurel Canyon vibe marked parts of GospelbeacH's third studio album, Let It Burn, which arrived in October 2019. Rademaker stayed busy starting up and operating a new label, Curation Records, that focused on fellow mellow California artists and Beachwood Sparks reissues. In 2021, the band recorded a batch of bubblegum and glitter songs Rademaker heard while hanging out with the co-owner of the label, who has a large collection of singles from both genres. The five-song EP Jam Jam was recorded by Rademaker and Niemann with help from seasoned session pros Bob Glaub on bass and Don Heffington on drums. Nelson Bragg, a longtime member of Brian Wilson's band, helped out on harmony vocals. The EP was released in April of 2021.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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