Rayo, Powell present ‘gourmet acoustic’ show | TheUnion.com

Rayo, Powell present ‘gourmet acoustic’ show

Elena Powell and Saul Rayo
Submitted by Larry Huntington |


WHO: Nevada City Live Presents Saul Rayo and Elena Powell

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St., Nevada City

TICKETS: $20, online at http://www.paulemerymusic.com and at the BriarPatch Co-op

“We call our music ‘Gourmet Acoustic,’ a blend of original world music meets back-porch blues for the discerning ear,” explained musicians Saul Rayo and Elena Powell.

Today, Rayo and Powell will perform new songs off of their first album together, “Reach for the Peach.”

With nine albums between the two musicians, “Reach for the Peach” finds the couple stepping back from the music they are both known for and stripping it down to the visceral. The couple recorded the album using mostly analog, vintage and vintage-sound reissues to capture the warmth of Rayo’s guitar and Powell’s violin and the harmony of their voices.

“We wanted to show people you don’t need new,” says Powell, who is talking about both music and construction from inside her beer-brewing kitchen at the couple’s recording studio.

For the last five years, the two have been collecting vintage equipment and instruments with the intention of one day building a recording studio.

“Reach for the Peach” is the first album to be recorded, mixed and mastered at Rayo and Powell’s Ancient Wave Studios, a four-room studio in their renovated barn. All of the mixing boards are analog with a digital interface.

One of the rooms is large enough for live performances, private house concerts, and live performance recording.

On this day, Rayo and Powell are in the room recording a video sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing. Surrounded by recycled hand-hewn wood beams and reddish colored walls, colorful ethnic rugs and blankets, hand-made furniture and wrought iron relics, the couple is comfortably in their element.

Powell was the first to became passionate about analog and took Rayo to visit famed Prairie Sun Recording Studios in Cotati. It was here that their good friend, producer and engineer Oz Fritz, worked with Tom Waits on his Grammy-award winning album “Mule Variations.”

Their minds started racing and they could see the creative possibilities.

Powell explains she and Rayo had been waiting for the right moment to share their new songs with friends, family and the community. When veteran producer Paul Emery approached them to perform as part of the Nevada City Live series at the historic Nevada Theatre, they knew it was time.

Saturday night’s show will feature Rayo and Powell performing new songs and old favorites during the first half together. Some of the new songs were inspired by their recent travels busking through Europe this spring.

Joining Rayo and Powell for the second half of the evening to perform “Reach for the Peach” in its entirety are Mark McCartney (The DeadBeats, Achilles Wheel) on percussion, Randi Soule on violin, Arthur Gould on cello and Joe Thayer on bass.

“We want to strip it down and let people enjoy the message we both have to share,” says Powell. “We are going to lead the audience through an experience. Saul’s good at that.”

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