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DAVID SERBY

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LOW HANGING STARS RELEASING ON 6.14.24
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David Serby Low Hanging Stars Single.jpg

LOW HANGING STARS (SINGLE) RELEASED ON 4.19.24
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L.A. SINGER-SONGWRITER DAVID SERBY’S LOW HANGING STARS, HIS FIRST COLLECTION OF NEW MUSIC IN 10 YEARS, ARRIVES JUNE 14 VIA THE BLACKBIRD RECORD LABEL

 

Singer-songwriter David Serby, a linchpin of Los Angeles’ alternative country scene, returns on June 14 with his sixth album Low Hanging Stars, his first collection of new music in a decade and his debut release on the L.A.-based Blackbird Record Label.

 

Helmed by Serby’s longtime producer and lead guitarist Ed Tree, the set of 10 new original songs features his regular collaborators: bassist Greg Boaz (currently in soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples’ band and a veteran of Dave Alvin’s Guilty Men), drummer Dale Daniel (formerly of the Hacienda Brothers), and keyboardist-vocalist Darice Bailey. SoCal alt-country vet Carl Byron (a featured player in the “gypsy jazz” unit the Hot Club of Los Angeles) contributes Hammond B3 organ, accordion, and keyboards on several selections. On the rollicking leadoff track “Fishtail Cadillac,” a sort of countrified retake of “Maybellene,” Serby is supported by bassist Taras Prodaniuk (Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams) and drummer Scott Babcock.

 

Serby, a North Hollywood native, established himself as one of the L.A. scene’s most talented performers with a trio of neo-hardcore honky tonk albums, I Just Don’t Go Home (2006), Another Sleepless Night (2007), and Honkytonk and Vine (2009). He followed up those releases with a pair of stylistic departures: the folk-based Poor Man’s Poem (2011) and the double-barreled rockin’ pop collection David Serby and the Latest Scam (2003).

 

Explaining his protracted layoff, he says, “I started to put some songs together for another project, and then life happened. I got busy with my day job, my mom got sick and passed away, and then COVID hit, and then my sister got sick. The next thing you know, you look up and it’s 10 years later. And I think artistically I lost my way a little bit — I didn’t know exactly where I was heading.”

 

Low Hanging Stars circles back to the style, sound, and subject matter of the records that made Serby’s reputation, with economical, keenly observed songs about people living on the margins. The no-punches-pulled writing reflects the influence of L.A.’s laureate of the lost, novelist-poet Charles Bukowski, whom Serby calls “just about my favorite writer.”

 

He adds, “This record is about people struggling to hold on to a little piece of stability, a little piece of normalcy, a little bit of happiness, and usually not very successfully. They’re getting washed away into the fringes and taking one last grab — ‘Maybe there’s something for me to hang onto.’ The song ‘Lonely Motel Days’ is about a guy who says, ‘I don’t really want to hold on — I want to run away from that little piece of stability I might have had. I’m giving up on that — it’s a racket. I don’t want any part of it.’ He’s got a little three-minute slice of heaven there, but it’s not going to end well for him.”

 

The songs on the new record had been germinating for several years. “The earliest songs were written in 2016 and 2017,” he says. “‘The Jukebox is Broken’ was written maybe three years ago. Originally that song was about the record industry being broken. Then in 2018 they put together that benefit show at the old location of [the historic country showplace] the Palomino in North Hollywood, and before we went to the show I got this idea in my head of the Palomino just being this shell full of the ghosts of country nights past, and two ideas morphed together there. ‘Fishtail Cadillac’ was written in late 2023.”

 

Like his previous work, Low Hanging Stars reflects a strong sense of place, and takes in L.A. and environs from the underside of Hollywood to the outskirts of the Salton Sea.

 

“I love Southern California,” he says. “I love pretty much everything about L.A., good, bad, and otherwise. ‘Why Leave Los Angeles’ says that the city’s not perfect, but I love it here and I can’t see myself going anywhere else. I did make a conscious effort to root the songs in California. I’m from here, and this is where I love to be, and I really don’t want to go anywhere else.”

 

Serby describes one of his new compositions as an example of how he uses his own experience in the region as a springboard for his fictional narratives.

“The song ‘Trying to Get to Encinitas’ is clearly not about my life,” he says, “but it is about something that is important and personal to me. My parents lived in Encinitas in the mid-‘80s, and that was a time when they were really happy, and my sister and her husband were really happy. I was married to somebody else at that time, and we were happy. Then my dad got sick and died, and everything went kind of sideways for my entire family — my sister’s life went off the rails, I got divorced and my life went off the rails, my mom had a nervous breakdown. To me, the word ‘Encinitas’ represents something you’re always trying to get back to, trying to find that period that was a beautiful time for you. That’s what that guy in the song is looking for.”

 

Other personal undercurrents are heard in the songs “Why Leave Los Angeles” and “Low Hanging Stars,” about musicians attempting to claw out a living after leaving the City of Angels. Serby notes that these tunes were inspired in part by the departures of some of his popular contemporaries on the fertile scene that developed at West Los Angeles’ Cinema Bar in the early ‘00s: “When people like Mike Stinson and Randy Weeks left, I thought, ‘Wow,’” he says. “Periodically someone would say, ‘Oh, you’re still here? I thought you moved to Nashville.’ No, I’m still here.”

 

Serby continues to draw inspiration from the deep well of Southern California country music, of both the 20th- and 21st-century variety, and sees making that music as its own reward: “Years ago someone told me, ‘You have to find joy in the doing, whether it’s the writing or the performing.’ Anything over and above that is frosting on the cake. You have to be satisfied with the doing of the thing. That’s where I am — I’m super-excited to be doing the thing.”

PRESS: KG MUSIC PRESS, KIM GRANT: KIM@KGMUSICPRESS.COM

LABEL: BLACKBIRD RECORD LABEL, MANDA MOSHER: MANDA@BLACKBIRDRECORDLABEL.COM

RADIO: UPSTART ENTERTAINMENT, JOE ESTRADA: LOSDUDE52@AOL.COM

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