Combining moody Eastern European motifs, Western Movie Themes, with Zydeco rhythms, Tex-Mex Polkas, and Swing, the band’s fifth CD is comprised of equal parts Lyrical Stories of American Gothic Characters of Fiction, and Cinematic Instrumentals.
released March 29, 2016
Gary Mackender composed the songs and played accordion, drums, piano, organ, banjo, and sang the songs; Karl Hoffmann plays bass, sang some background vocals, played some guitars; Joe Fanning did most of the guitar and baritone work; other musicians include Heather Hardy on violin and background vocals, Chris Giambelluca on banjo, double bass, and some background vocals, Greg Mackender on vibes, and Rebecca Carlson on background vocals.
"Dreams are Strange is the band’s fifth release, and every Carnivaleros CD is excellent, that much goes without saying, an intoxicating mixture of roots musics of all brands: zydeco, folk, Appalachian, Tex-Mex, swing, and, yep, even waltzes, though Big Louie and the Versailles Court would never recognize the lattermost incarnation here, I’m pretty damn sure. More, each disc is better than what preceded it. That alone should supply the band with ample reason to…cut it the hell out!! This is Earth, we’re allowed only just so much above our station, and then have to shuffle off the coil, so don’t force the envelope! The listener is advised to afterwards listen to The Osmonds, The Archies, or The Bangles as penance for having tasted of Eden and the apple."
Mark S. Tucker, VERITAS VAMPIRUS, Issue 1,196, April, 2016
"There are many things I like about The Carnivaleros' latest album, Dreams are Strange. The entire album has an earthy, raw quality with whimsical undertones that are at the core of what makes this such a unique and fun record to listen to. If I were to describe what the record's genre was, I would probably tell a friend: "It's like Accordion fueled carnival folk fusion" as there are so many elements at play. Bluegrass, Folk, New Orleans, all contribute to the uniqueness of the work. Along with the catchy, upbeat songs are very moving and thoughtful numbers like "Tumacacori" that transport you to the deserts of southern Arizona from where the Carnivaleros hail. Among the many great performances on this record, songwriter, singer and multiple intrumentalist Gary Mackender's performance on accordion effortlessly moves from style to style with a subtle mastery. Nice job, Carnivaleros."
Ronstadt Record Company
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