Me and the Devil
Chris Cacavas & Edward Abbiati
Recorded in a barn in 5 days with Winston Watson (Bob Dylan, Giant Sand, Warren Zevon), Mike "Slo Mo" Brenner (Magnolia Electric Co., Marah) this is a Garage Folk album! Songs Written by Green on Red founding member and Lowlands frontman.
Collaborations can cross oceans and cover land masses, from East Coast to West, but when former Green On Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas upped sticks for southern Germany, he hardly reckoned to find a writing partner so close at hand. A straight drive down through Switzerland and over the Alps to Italy brought him to the door of Edward Abbiati of the country’s premier roots band Lowlands.
Six months (and several ‘phonecalls, emails and ‘plane tickets) later, the pair are now ready to present the fruits of their labour in the form of Me And The Devil. The songs were recorded in 5 days in an old barn outside the northern Italian town of Pavia, and features the collective talents of Cacavas and Abbiati, plus Bob Dylan, Giant Sand and Warren Zevon drummer Winston Watson and Marah and Jason Molina alumnus Mike ‘Slo Mo’ Brenner.
Three of the four have known each other for a while, Cacavas and Brenner both guesting on Lowlands’ 2008 debut The Last Call. Keeping in touch, Cacavas and Abbiati had long talked about a joint project between the two of them and the seeds were finally sown last year when Cacavas accepted an invitation from his Italian friend to travel down from his home in Germany to write songs around a kitchen table in Pavia.
Philly slide guru Brenner was a shoo-in, being practically an honorary member of Lowlands, while Watson was recruited to the drumstool by Cacavas. Following a period of economic and logistical headscratching, the quartet (plus recording engineer Rainer Lolk) finally convened in Italy in August to begin work. Two days later they already had ten tracks in varying degrees of readiness. Another two days and they were ready to be mixed by Chris Peet, a Newport based engineer who has been working with Lowlands recently (including their forthcoming album “Love Etc...”).
“I am as proud and satisfied of what we have achieved with this record as I am with anything else I have ever achieved and recorded in my career” says Chris Cacavas.
“We wrote the songs in two short two day sessions,” explains Abbiati. “A blank page and no preconceptions. The songs seemed to flow out of us very quickly, adjusting chord changes and lyrics till we got the song to where we were both happy with them, we’d record a quick demo on the phone and move on to the next one.”
“The ‘Studio In A Barn’ was something I had never experienced before,” adds Cacavas. “In spite of the cluttered, dusty and at times very hot room, the band played the hell out of the songs and the session moved along effortlessly. I knew Ed and I had ‘stacked the deck’ with Winston and Mike, but in the end I was blown away by their incredible playing and unexpected musical ideas. That we achieved so much with so little effort is a gift.”
(Gerry Ranson - www.mulefreedom.com)