Paladino’s rootsy Americana sound draws upon country, folk, the blues as well as retaining a punk rock spirit. This vibrant musical blend arises from Paladino’s family-style collaborative approach that allows everyone to contribute their own unique backgrounds and influences.
Listening to Paladino’s self-titled debut (due out November 15), it’s hard to believe that the Los Angeles-based group has been together for less than a year. Although their band is new, the group’s founders - singer-songwriter Jonathan Harkham and guitarists Chris and Adrienne Isom – are old pals. After the Isoms moved to Los Angeles in 2009 the band idea became a reality. At first, Harkham and the Isoms would meet to work on Harkham’s new tunes and play old country covers that they all loved. Over time, the trio solidified into a band with the addition of a rhythm section, bassist Annie Rothschild and drummer Jon Rygiewicz.

Jonathan Harkham, who has been writing songs for years, has produced three albums on his own, including Darkcho, a project of Jewish folk songs one of which was covered by folk musician, Will Oldham. Harkham, who is a prolific painter as well as a musician, hand drew the group’s website ( A self-professed heretic, he re-counts his course to Paladino, “I drank a 5th of whiskey everyday until I went completely mad, then my best friend died horribly and I went insane again, once and for all. I met a moose in Wyoming and he gave me all the words to write my songs.”
Chris Isom contributes mesmerizing guitar leads that touch upon Sun Records, Mexican balladry and modern psychedelia. Although he grew up in New York and played in Garage and Anti-Folk bands Mooney Suzuki and Adam Green, Isom’s family hails from Lubbock, Texas. His older cousins taught him how to play guitar and he grew up playing Buddy Holly, Bob Wills and folk and psychedelic music like Townes Van Zant and the 13th Floor Elevators. Chris says that it’s a “happy accident that Johnny digs all that old canon of music as much as I do.”
Rhythm guitarist Adrienne Isom’s vocals recall Wanda Jackson and Moe Tucker and reflect the unbridled enthusiasm she has for playing music, singing and life in general. Isom, who grew up behind the famed, “Whiskey-a-Go-Go” where, as a pre-teen, she would sneak out of the house and head down to the strip late at night for excitement. Never letting the wild streak go, Isom harnessed that into punk rock music, playing in several art-punk bands in New York and carving out a career as a successful photographer.

The charismatic Rothschild lends eclectic energy and pure Southern soul to the band. Her deep love for music comes naturally as her dad runs the Southern music label, Landslide Records. Hailing from Northern Georgia, Rothschild came to Los Angeles as a wardrobe stylist, not only working with actors, but musicians as well. Her love and knowledge of music and the fact that she was born for the spotlight, inspired her to pick up the bass and learn on her feet where she now keeps time in Paladino.

The other beat-keeper of the group, Rygiewicz, or Ryggy to his friends, has developed his distinctive drumming style through a number of bands. The Gene Krupa-loving Wisconsin native brings a jazz vibe to the music of Paladino.

The songs on Paladino’s debut disc evoke the past while maintaining a modern vitality. The lead-off track “Mexicali Rain Song” wonderfully incorporates elements of surf, rockabilly, country and Mexican mariachi music into a sound that’s simultaneously old and new. Their versions of “Green Green Grass of Home,” “Have You Ever Been Lonely” and the Harlan Howard nugget “Too Many Rivers” link them to classic country music while tunes like “Here I Lie,” “In Exile” and “Dim and Gutless Jig” are fueled with punk rock energy, although in a mostly acoustic setting. The revved-up rhythms of Harkham’s original “Lonely Mountain,” meanwhile, are tempered by the lyric’s melancholia; this cathartic tune arose from his dealing with the loss of his best friend.
The music’s straight-from-the-heart honesty also worked into the band’s recording process. With an open, informal collaborative approach, they laid down this set of songs in a matter of a few days and then mastered them in a mainly analog facility. The disc projects a very organic sound that nicely reflects Paladino’s live sound.

With their first album done, Paladino is looking forward to getting out and sharing their songs, new and old. Isom views the band as part of a larger family of American music. “I know that we'd like to think, in some dimension, Bob Wills could sit down and tap his foot to a lot of this music, and maybe even throw in a few ‘ah ha’s.’”

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Friday Jun 8, 2:00 PM on Café Where

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