“Mojave Between Ludlow and Needles”
(Full Spectrum)

We were somewhere in the Mojave, between Ludlow and Needles, when the drugs began to take hold.

That’s the start, anyway, of this #blessed adventure, packed Cadillac El Dorado convertible kicking up dust on the California highway, top down, blue sky blazing in unbearable vividness. Andrew Weathers does a similar thing, but with music instead of a car, capturing the hot, arid California of romantic imagination. His sparse guitar plucks are each individual breath you inhale, heating your chest in the daytime and freezing it at night. The more you drive, the deeper the landscape and the music penetrate you until you perceive them as one. The landscape has particularly inspired Weathers, as Mojave is “a love letter of sorts to a particular hill in the midst of the Mojave Desert’s expansive wastes.” It’s also part of Full Spectrum’s Editions Littlefield series, “which explores notions of intentional communities and progressive living.” There is nothing more progressive or “living” than baking under the sun or gazing up at the stars from a wilderness locale, where you can experience the beauty and the harshness all at the same time. Must stop here – this is bat country.

Weathers handles an array of instruments on this release, combining guitar, banjo, synth, organ, and other sundry items for an improvisational tour-de-folk, tunes light enough to be blown away like tumbleweed on the desert breeze. That charming highway strip bisects pure distance, and the tracks of Mojave empty into the atmosphere to fill the space. Breathe again, what’s on the wind enters not only your mouth and nose, but your ears and eyes as well for complete sensory engagement. It takes you places – even sitting here at my desk, I’m wandering through wastelands in my head, unable to separate my imagination from Andrew Weathers’s compositions. I welcome the hitchhikers I come across while on my sojourn, because they’re people too, and I’m not afraid of them or their intentions even if sometimes they do look like a tripped-out, blond Tobey Maguire. That’s just part of the free association, not remotely meaningful. Just inhabiting, yeah, this particular segment of three-dimensional space. Nothing but the music and the scenery to keep me company, to comfort and confound me with equal measure. Gonna get lost in it here.

What drugs? I’m high on life, man.

--Ryan Masteller