Bandleader Gary Mackender has penned five instrumentals and six seductive tales of life in America for his fourth full length album. Mackender's lyrics deal with the human condition as he sees it; some light, some dark. The tales told on this latest project range from a story of the life of American folk artist Howard Finster, a lament about a deceased neighbor and friend who played the pedal steel, a supper club magician who's fate is sealed due to gambling debts and other shenanigans, and the tale of Arizona Sheriff Joe's rise to fame.
released April 4, 2014
Musicians contributing on Strictly Tabu include Karl Hoffman, Mitzi Cowell, Mike Purdy, Neil Harry, Catherine Zavala, Landis Kearnon, Marco and Dante Rosano, Carla Brownlee and Rick Peron. Horn arrangements by Greg Mackender.
"Gary Mackender is, let's face it, The Carnivaleros, and the guy wears so many hats (writer, player, singer, producer, engineer) that it's miraculous his neck doesn't snap under all the weight, but it's precisely that omni-involvement with every aspect which produces the unique sound and vibe each time out, a blend of Ennio Morricone with a few beers in him, Herb Alpert serving tequila, Nick Cave sitting back and grinning in conversation with Mark Hollis, Gary Brooker staggering in—especially in Supper Club Magician—to add his two cents worth and illuminate the decadence of everything. This odd sonority is, in short, as Mackender himself wryly puts it, 'desert bayou music' but sieved through a very Eastern European colander. Then there's brother Greg Mackender's killer horn arrangements and eerie-as-hell theremin in Blue Saguaro, and you have to wonder: why on Earth is Hollywood asleep at the switch and these guys not making movie soundtracks?"
- Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange, 2014
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