Eight years after launching Middle Brother, Delta Spirit’s Matthew Logan Vasquez had a yen to form another “supergroup” collaboration — the new Glorietta, whose self-titled debut (and possibly only) album comes out Aug. 24 — with the tracks “Hard Way” and “Easy Come Easy Go” premiering below.
The seeds were sown last year when Vasquez and Adrian Quesada (Brown Out, Black Pumas) went to see singer-songwriter David Ramirez perform in Austin and then went out for drinks afterwards. “I was like, hey, I haven’t done a Middle Brother type of record in a long time. I want to do one with my Texas buddies,” Vasquez tells Billboard. Ramirez initially took the idea with a grain of salt — “I said, ‘Yeah, it sound like fun,’ never thinking it was actually going to happen because musicians who are having beers all want to start bands,” he recalls. But became a believer when the troupe, which also includes Noah Gunderson, Wild Child’s Kelsey Wilson and Jason Robert Blum, wound up at an AirBnB outside of Santa Fe for a few days of recording that also included drop-ins from Nathaniel Rateliff, Los Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin and a few other friends.
“We had one hell of a time,” Vasquez remembers. “It had a vaulted ceiling and a Jacuzzi. It snowed twice. We were making music all the time and drinking tequila, and Jason’s an amazing chef, so he was cooking all this crazy stuff. So it was really fun to just sit in the Jacuzzi with everybody and get some good food and just kind of take it easy. Everybody came in swingin’ and ready to work. It was crazy.”
All six members of Glorietta contributed songs to the project, which was co-produced by Vasquez and Quesada. “All of us have different styles,” Ramirez says, “so I knew it was going to be diverse but we never really talked about a feel or a vision. Matt just told everyone to come up with ideas and we would go from there. The whole thing was pretty organic; We got everything set up and I remember I started messing around with something and (Vazquez) says, ‘We’re recording that. That’s a song!’ and I said, ‘No, it’s actually not a song. I’m messing around.’ ‘No, it’s a song. Come up with some lyrics for it.’ That’s how the whole week went.”
“Hard Way” is a song Ramirez has “been trying to get on one of my records for about three years now. It’s just never fit in as far as the flow of the albums. So when we started tracking Glorietta they asked if anyone had a rockin’ tune, and I said ‘I have an old one we can try out’ and we did a couple of takes, completely live, and we got it.” Blum’s “Easy Come Easy Go,” meanwhile, was “an easy one,” according to Vasquez, something Blum had in motion when it was decided Glorietta needed something with some breezy levity along the lines of Harry Nilsson’s 1972 single “Coconut.”
Glorietta also recorded several other songs that will be released as B-sides before the end of year, possibly as an EP, according to Vasquez. Glorietta will make its live debut at this year’s Newport Folk Festival and is planning a short tour during October, but nobody’s expecting the group to have much life beyond that.
“We’ve all kind of agreed that this would be a one-off thing,” Ramirez says, “but no one can really judge something in the future. If the response is next level, then I don’t see why we should shelve the whole thing. Maybe it’s something we just do once every couple of years, make another record or whatever. But as of now we’re saying it’s a limited run, for sure.” Vazquez, meanwhile, points back to Middle Brother as a model for Glorietta moving forward.
“We’ve reunited one time, and that was all that is probably ever going to happen with that,” Vasquez says. “But any time we’re on the same bill we do Middle Brother tunes together, and that’s the attitude I have about (Glorietta). It’s really just a party that happened in a week, and we recorded it. We’ll see how this party goes. I just think it’s a fun experience for people to see.”