Sacramento has been off and on the music industry’s radar for many years, with its heyday being in the 1980s and 1990s as far as producing national acts. Lately Sacramento seems to be a music market of fresh material that includes national rock band Oleander, local r&b singer-songwriter Carla Fleming and local country/rock singer-songwriter Kally O’Mally.
Each of these new releases has a refreshing sound that contrasts with a controlled corporate era characterized by over-production and redundant formulas. Somehow, Sacramento is helping resolve the problem that today’s national hits sound too corporate and predictable.
SacTV.com continues to document local music that stands out as Oleander has just released a new album called Something Beautiful. The title track is the lead-off single and sounds like one of their most catchy melodic songs to date. The humorous VEVO video can be seen on their website and on YouTube. It’s their fifth album and their first in nine years.
The band, like many local bands including Deftones, got early airplay on KWOD as far back as the early nineties. They achieved national rock hits such as "Why I’m Here" and "I Walk Alone" in the late nineties. Their current album was recorded over a period of a few years, according to singer Thomas Flowers.
Oleander, now an indie band, is one of a handful of Sacramento artists who gained national attention after several major label signings in the 1990s. Although the 2000s have not produced as many major signings out of Sacramento, there’s a sense that the local music scene lives on and fills some of the missing elements from national music.
Songs that tell interesting stories, for example, are hard to find on the charts these days, but the video to Oleander’s song "Something Beautiful" reveals the funny story behind the song about how music deals are made. The band’s CD release party was May 3 at Ace of Spades. Their website lists shows they have scheduled this summer in Ohio and Indiana.
Another type of music you don’t hear much on the charts these days is social commentary music. But Carla Fleming fills the void with her new song called "Weapons Down," which promotes peace. She recently assembled a group of friends to collaborate on the song based on the concept of "take action now." As she explained in a March interview with SacTV, the idea came from seeing too many shootings in the news, specifically in Connecticut last December. The song combines r&b, jazz and other influences while delivering powerful lyrics.
"Weapons Down" is the type of conscious music that many people have been asking for since the seventies but have heard less and less on commercial radio, which is what makes the song so refreshing. It’s an ideal track for any radio station that wants to strengthen their connection with the community.
Kally O’Mally, who has crafted a catalog of country/rock storyteller songs, released her new album in February called Easy Money. The title track mixes mandolin with horns. Her unique talent is that she’s a multi-instrumentalist. She held her CD release party on May 3 at Fox and Goose.
These examples reflect only a fraction of the excitement going on in Sacramento. Another new release comes from alternative band King Never (www.music.kingnever.com) while Zen Arcadia (www.zenarcadia.com) is currently working on a new album. This year’s Sacramento Music Festival on Memorial Day weekend in Old Sac will feature an all-star performance dedicated to Skip’s Music owner Skip Maggiora, according to local radio legend Tony Cox.