Folk rock band Stormy Mondays, from Spain’s rainy northern coast, have had an incredible career so far. Beginning in 1991, their first gigs were performed in the street. They’ve come a long way since then. They were the only Spanish band to perform at Woodstock ’99; they played with Bruce Springsteen at his Light of Day Benefit in New Jersey in 2006, and, after winning NASAs Space Rock Contest, had their song ‘Sunrise Number 1’ played on the Endeavour Space Shuttle.
With a name taken from a blues classic, ‘They Call It Stormy Monday’, by T-Bone Walker, their sound is crafted from a blend of Americana, Soul, 60s British Invasion and the folk music of their home region Asturias. It’s both classic and modern at the same time, with the use of traditional instruments, and the retention of their natural accents giving their music a flavour which is at once both familiar and extraordinary: friendly and welcoming.
The band is made up of:
Jorge Ortero – vocals, electric and acoustic guitar (6 and 12 strings), tenor guitar, Veillette Gryphon, Lap Steel, percussion;
Pablo Bertrand – piano, Hammond organ, Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, Michelsonne toy piano, glockenspiel, background vocals;
Danny Montgomery – drums, percussion;
Dani Menéndez – acoustic and electric guitar, EBow, backing vocals;
Rafa Sánchez – electric and fretless bass, Bass VI, electric guitar, ukulele, backing vocals.
Stormy Mondays’ latest release is a double EP, with twelve songs divided over two different albums, ‘Wading The River’, and ‘The Lay Of The Land’.
Each covers a different style of music – ‘Wading The River’ is more of a rock album, featuring electric guitars, horns, and stripped back songs with nothing more than an electric piano and a cello. Citing influences including Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Ryan Adams, and Arcade Fire, you can also hear hints of The Who, Neil Young, and The Beatles.
‘The Lay Of The Land’ is subtitled “A Folk Rock Adventure”, and has a more acoustic sound than ‘Wading The River’. The band has made use of instruments they’ve never before used on their records, including hurdy-gurdy, violin, flute, clarinet, tenor guitar, and an assortment of stringed instruments. Some of the songs have a real Irish feel about them: ‘Merry Go Round’ in particular sounds like a traditional Irish song, both in the use of traditional instruments and in the sound of the song itself.
‘Wading The River’ starts out with a more country rock feel, and here’s where the influence of Neil Young comes in. The band was going to release the two EPs separately, but realised they went together well, so went ahead with the double EP. Mixing was done by Mike “Stav” Stavrou, in his studio in Australia. Stav worked as a Sound Balance Engineer for 10 years at for George Martin’s AIR Studios, and has worked with everyone from Bowie, McCartney, and Crowded House. He’s even won a Grammy, for the James Bond film, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.
Second track on ‘Wading The River’, ‘Nobody Knows’, is a beautiful song blending both The Beatles and ELO. It has a very prog rock feel about it, and an echo-y backing vocal. ‘One Note (Rock and Roll)’ is a more smokey song, while album closer, ‘Not Enough’ has a more late 60s style to it, once again harking back to Neil Young.
‘Wading The River’ and ‘The Lay Of The Land’ were produced by Jorge Otero, and recorded in Estudios Acme, in Asturias, Spain, by Miguel Herreroand Satélite Estudios (Asturias, Spain) by Jorge Otero and Juanjo Zamorano. They also feature Héctor Braga playing hurdy-gurdy, violin and violoncello; Juan Flores on tenor and baritone sax, flute, clarinet; and Miguel Herrero playing trumpet, flügelhorn, and percussion.
Find Stormy Mondays online on their official website, in Spanish and English; on Facebook (mostly in Spanish); and on Twitter – in Spanish, and English. You can also find them on YouTube, Instagram, and Soundcloud.
Watch the lyric video for the beautiful song, ‘Talking In My Sleep’, from ‘The Lay Of The Land’: