Tomorrow, December 9th, Cracker will be releasing their 10th studio endeavor, entitled Berkeley To Bakersfield, a double-album that finds this distinctively American band traversing two different sides of the California landscape, from the northern Bay area all the way down-state to the heart of Bakersfield.
Even though the drive between the two cities is less than five hours, musically, these two regions could not be further apart from one another. Back in the late ‘70s and ‘80s a harder-edged style of rock music came out of the Bay area, while Bakersfield is renowned for its own twangy country music sound made popular and most famous, by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Yet in spite of these differences, they both have elements that Cracker’s two cofounders, David Lowery and Johnny Hickman, have embraced even to the smallest degree on almost every one of their studio albums over the past two decades. You will see however on Berkeley To Bakersfield, instead of these two genres being integrated together within one disc, they have been neatly compartmentalized onto their own individual regionally-titled LPs.
“This Bakersfield disc represents the ‘California country’ side of the band. Throughout the band’s 24-year history we’ve dabbled in Country and Americana but this time we wanted to pay homage to the particular strain of Country and Country-Rock music that emerges from the inland valleys of California.” As Lowery continues to explain, “On the Berkeley disc the band is the original Cracker lineup, Davey Faragher, Michael Urbano, Johnny and myself. This is the first time this lineup has recorded together in almost 20 years. We began recording this album at East Bay Recorders in Berkeley, CA. For this reason we chose to stylistically focus this disc on the music we most associate with the East Bay: Punk and Garage with some funky undertones. To further match our sense of place we often took an overtly political tone in the lyrics.”
Cracker has been described many different ways throughout the years from Alternative-Rock, Americana, Insurgent-Country, even as far as punk and classic-rock! More than anything, Cracker are survivors. Lowery and Hickman, cofounders of the group, have been going strong for almost a quarter of a century with ten studio albums, multiple gold records, thousands of live performances, hit songs that are still in current radio rotation around the globe, “Low,” “Euro-Trash Girl,” “Get Off This” and “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me” to name just a few, and a worldwide fan base under their belts. Still being able to accomplish all of these things in spite of the major changes within the music industry and continues to grow each year. That says a lot for a band that has obvious staying power.
“Cracker have been weaving subtle yet undeniable country twang throughout their sound since their 1992 self-titled debut. But with their new double album, Berkeley to Bakersfield, at least on the Bakersfield portion of the album, the alt-rock radio band known for such hits as ‘Low’ and ‘Get Off This’ dives headfirst into the California country sound.” – Stated Rolling Stone Country
Cracker’s Berkeley To Bakersfield will be released tomorrow, December 9th via 429 Records and will be available on CD and digital formats. Pre-order here.